Our Individual Role in Raising the Quality Status Quo

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Summary:

In the busy world of quality assurance and testing, we often as individual testers/quality assurance professionals dig in and do the daily work we need to do and sometimes leave the overall quality measures to those in management positions. As individuals we need to realize that each of us makes an impact on quality, whether we are proactively and consciously doing so or not.

In the busy world of quality assurance and testing we often as individual testers/quality assurance professionals dig in and do the daily work that we need to do and sometimes leave the overall quality measures to those in management positions. As individuals we need to realize that each of us makes an impact on quality whether we are proactively and consciously doing so or not. To effectively attain and maintain quality each of us needs to actively and proactively work toward quality practices and products by assuming conscious, forward-looking, active roles. That time-proven saying holds true in quality as in many other aspects of life–"If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem."

In an attempt to consider our individuals roles as effective quality assurance people and encourage and enhance quality we can start by reviewing the 14 Quality Principles by Dr. W. Edwards Deming which are:

  1. Create constancy of purpose for improvement of product and service.
  2. Adopt the new philosophy.
  3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality.
  4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag alone.
  5. Improve constantly and forever the system of production and service.
  6. Institute training.
  7. Adopt and institute leadership.
  8. Drive out fear.
  9. Break down barriers between staff areas.
  10. Eliminate slogans, exhortations, and targets for the work force.
  11. Eliminate numerical quotas for the work force and eliminate numerical goals for people in management.
  12. Remove barriers that rob people of pride of workmanship.
  13. Encourage education and self-improvement for everyone.
  14. Take action to accomplish the transformation.

To get our creative juices flowing we might begin with various questions such as the following:

What can we as individual QA people or the entire QA team do to improve quality? What can I individually and realistically do where quality is concerned? Am I part of the solution or the problem? Can I accomplish quality individually or only in cooperation with others? Are there quality principles I as an individual can apply and blatantly or by example encourage others to apply as well? Is the culture too large or too set for me to change or am I by my inactive role maintaining the status quo? Are these principles something I consider at all? Are they things I do automatically or only when forced to think about them? Do they affect my work life, my personal life, or both? Does considering these quality principles and living them enhance the meaning of my life–work and personal–and its effect on others? How do we balance the effects and costs of principles such as training vs. actual work to improve quality? Does consideration of these principles stymie our quality output or enhance it? Are these pie-in-the-sky principles or can they promote practical application that can and will affect our daily work lives?

1. Create constancy of purpose for improvement of product and service. Consider my role in quality each day as I try to improve quality in my own section of the world
2. Adopt the new philosophy. Keep an open mind, stay open to new ideas, and carry through on the execution of them while assessing their purpose and ability to improve quality not stymie it.
3. Cease dependence on inspection to achieve quality. Proactive positive participation in activities that promote this theory at all stages of the development process.
4. End the practice of awarding business on the basis of price tag alone. Consider what factors I can accomplish to improve quality with only partial emphasis on what it costs and balance what I must accomplish with how I can best accomplish it with

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