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Monday, March 06, 2006

At times, I think we tend to think of quality in the short term (tactical), instead of long term. For this reason, when our product quality is bad, we think "How can we fix our current quality problem?". In reality, I think we determined our product quality long before this point, and it was a combination of a few factors.

In order to produce quality products, an organization must have quality across 4 dimensions:

1) Quality of People
2) Quality of Relationships
3) Quality of Management
4) Quality of Product

If you do not have quality in items 1-3, you will never achieve quality for item number 4. What does each one mean?

1) Quality of People
If we do not have quality in this area, the organization will face long term quality issues. My view is that an organizations success is more a product of "Who" than "What". If you have the right people, in the right roles, good things will happen. This is something that you can systematize through establishing the right hiring processes, as well as career development/mentoring processes.

2) Quality of Relationships
In this increasingly complex business world, effectiveness is normally a product of relationships and teamwork. This means having the ability to develop/sustain relationships, and using those relationships to enhance team work. You must have quality people to create quality relationships. In the coming years, the value of an organization will be determined more and more by its role in the ecosystem (partners and relationships) than its internal capabilities. In this environment, quality of relationships is essential.

3) Quality of Managment
Organizations and people are at different levels of maturity and expertise...constantly. Management is responsible for balancing this imbalance and leading (not managing) the team. It is not possible to attract/retain quality management, if you do not have the right people, in the right roles.

4) Quality of Product
All of these factors lead us to quality of product. If you have 1-3, you rarely need to worry about number just happens! I think many organizations make the mistake of trying to solve quality problems tactically (fixing a specific project), without thinking about the bigger picture of what caused it. In most cases, quality problems develop if any of items 1-3 are missing.

Quality is an essential metric as ulitmately, it determines client satisfaction (internal or external). I ask that everyone think about how we are addressing quality today and consider the 4 dimensions of quality that I identified above.

posted by Rob @ 5:44 AM  
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