The 15 Quality Books You Should Be Reading

See what books our readers found the most valuable.

To celebrate the beginning of a new decade, we’ve picked our most popular books, chosen by quality professionals from around the world and put together this guide. Organized by topic, this mix of new releases and timeless classics offers something for every quality professional. Review this list and grab the books that are missing from your quality library.


The Journey

Charles A. Clanfrani et al.

To sustain success in today’s competitive environment, organizations must meet the needs and expectations of all relevant parties. This book covers both the “what” and “how” aspects of achieving sustained success and is a guide for top managers ready to embark on this journey.

Unleash Quality

Arron S. Angle

The power of quality comes from actions that stem from behaviors—behaviors that apply to every department within a company. In other words, a company’s culture. This is where most organizations fail in their deployment of quality—by not treating quality as a cultural imperative.

The Joy of Lean

Dodd Starbird

As it attracts more attention as a philosophy, lean is still sometimes misunderstood as a method for just cutting expenses. That doesn’t sound very joyful. This book will show leaders how to cultivate a positive Lean Culture of Excellence that creates value for customers and employees.

Problem Solving

Root Cause Analysis, 2nd Edition

Duke Okes

This best-seller can help anyone who needs to find specific causes for failures. It provides detailed steps for solving problems, and it focuses on the deep analytical process involved in finding the true causes of problems. The book accomplishes this through visuals, figures, diagrams, and tools to make the reader see what is truly significant.

Handbook of Investigation and Effective CAPA Systems, 2nd Edition

José Rodriguez-Pérez, Ph.D.

The second edition of this handbook dealing exclusively with CAPA systems emphasizes root cause analysis as the necessary preceding step of any effective corrective and preventive action system. These concepts apply to many sectors, including automotive, aerospace, service, and more.

The ASQ Pocket Guide to Root Cause Analysis

Bjørn Andersen and Tom Natland Fagerhaug

When organizations experience unintended variation, it can cause a range of problems, from minor nuisances to the loss of customers and revenue. This pocket guide provides accessible knowledge about problem-solving, with a specific focus on identifying and eliminating the root causes of a problem.

Quality Management

The Art of Integrating Strategic Planning, Process Metrics, Risk Mitigation, and Auditing

J.B. Smith

This book promotes auditing beyond compliance to identify additional improvement opportunities, such as the discovery of hidden factories and risks. The scope also extends to an organization’s vision and strategy, which must align with the audit. Concepts and models are clearly illustrated using real-life examples.

Performance Metrics

Duke Okes

Which performance measures should you use? How do you sort through a variety of possible metrics and decide which are best? Performance Metrics provides a clarifying perspective for those who know that metrics need to be developed but are unsure as to the steps to follow in developing and deploying them.

Senior Management and Quality

Fin Rooney

Fin Rooney dives into quality concepts and how to apply them strategically to your organization. In his thorough approach, he begins by revisiting the question, “What is quality?” Full of helpful questions and thought-provoking ideas, this book will ensure interesting conversations with managers about how they view quality.

Quality Tools

The Quality Toolbox, Second Edition

Nancy R. Tague

The Quality Toolbox is a comprehensive reference for a variety of methods and techniques. It includes tools for brainstorming, evaluating ideas, analyzing processes, determining root causes, planning, and basic statistics. The book is thoughtfully designed both for self-learning and for teaching others.

Business Process Improvement Toolbox, Second Edition

Bjørn Andersen

Filled with quality tools and applications, this book provides readers with practical insight into how they can create a coherent business process improvement system. Consistently improving various aspects of how things are done, large and small, is the key to success for any organization.

Mapping Work Processes, Second Edition

Bjørn Andersen et al.

This best-seller is a hands-on, step-by-step workbook of instructions on how to create flowcharts and document work processes. This edition also includes organizational examples and case studies from many different industries to help readers understand real-life applications of the material presented.


Data Quality: Dimensions, Measurement, Strategy, Management, and Governance

Rupa Mahanti, Ph.D.

Good data is a source of myriad opportunities, while bad data is a tremendous burden. This book provides guidance on strategies and tactics for data quality. It balances technical details and higher-level qualitative discussions with case studies, illustrations, and real-world examples throughout.

Quality Experience Telemetry

Alka Jarvis et al.

Telemetry is an automated way to collect and transmit data from remote sites to receiving sites for monitoring, analyzing, and driving improvement. This book explains the telemetry infrastructure and associated details. It will enable readers to implement a telemetry program that improves the customer experience.

Data Integrity and Compliance

José Rodriguez-Pérez, Ph.D.

This book consolidates data integrity expectations from several regulatory sources and provides implementation guidance. It applies data management principles and procedures to the manufacturing of medical products throughout the whole supply chain.

Is your favorite book missing from this list? Let us know! Comment below, or tweet us @ASQ. To find more books on everything to do with quality, visit the ASQ bookstore.

Thriving in Disruption, Driving Toward Quality 4.0: The 2019 Summit


More than 200 quality professionals convened in Dallas for the third Quality 4.0 Summit, where they explored the impact of people, process, and technology on the ability to thrive in disruption.

Over two days, sessions on key issues including robotic process automation, IoT, cybersecurity quality culture, and voice of the customer shed light on emerging trends. One term—“digital”—was heard in practically every session.

Throughout the event, discussions centered on establishing a successful path toward Quality 4.0. Attendees at various stages of progress shared their perspectives on shaping an enterprise-wide strategy, celebrating quick wins, and communicating effectively to ensure their organizations’ initiatives were equally successful and sustainable.

For those who joined us at this year’s Summit, thank you for being a part of this growing event! If you were unable to attend, read on to learn about key trends and discoveries from the week in Dallas. We look forward to seeing you at our 2020 Summit and will have additional details in the coming weeks.


Dave Ryeson, Boston Consulting Group, and Elmer Corbin, ASQ, co-presented the Quality 4.0 Takes More Than Technology research report’s findings and perspectives on requirements for successful Quality 4.0 implementation to a packed room at the Summit. In this highly anticipated session, Ryeson and Corbin discussed the global online survey and deep-dive interviews with key manufacturing industry leaders and practitioners in the field of Quality 4.0. The survey evaluated the 200+ survey participants’ views on Quality 4.0 today and in the future to understand critical use cases, current and future impact, major challenges, and roles and skills needed to evolve. This report was created collaboratively by Boston Consulting Group, ASQ, and the German Association for Quality (DGQ).   


Attendees at the 2019 Quality 4.0 Summit had the unique opportunity to hear from leaders in innovation, technology, and transformation at three exceptional keynote addresses at the event.

Rick Smith, founder of Fast Radius, Inc., kicked off the conference. His presentation began with the story of Arie Kurniawan, a young Indonesian man who participated in an open innovation challenge. The challenge was to redesign a bracket that attaches an airplane’s jet engine to its wing. Despite having little manufacturing experience, Kurniawan’s design beat out over 1,000 other submissions, thanks to his use of a new design technique enabled by industrial 3D printing technology.  This story provided a background for a deeper dive into the changes in the quality community. Smith said Quality 4.0 would disrupt practically every industry, but would also create new jobs, roles, and opportunities for quality professionals.

The next morning, futurist and Pendio Group CEO Todd McLees continued the examination of challenges and opportunities related to digital disruption, the exponential rate of innovation, workforce of the future, and digital ecosystems. McLees offered insights into the rate of change in innovation, the challenges it presents, and the need for new levels of collaboration to re-skill, up-skill, and “new-skill” the workforce of the future. He also encouraged attendees to visit the website to better understand roles and positions susceptible to disruption.  His parting advice: Connect with stakeholders in your organization to build and work within ecosystems that will increasingly become a key competitive advantage.

The Summit’s closing keynote was provided by Elmer Corbin, former head of cloud and artificial intelligence solutions delivery for IBM Watson Health and 2018 ASQ Board of Directors Chair, who looked back on transformative moments in his education and career, and revealed the vital role quality played in fostering innovation in each phase. Corbin offered a compendium of lessons learned throughout the conference, urging attendees to prepare for the future by expanding their multipurpose soft skills and comprehensive digital roles. By developing digital enablers for Quality 4.0 implementation, Corbin noted, quality professionals can build an effective common data architecture foundation. He concluded his address by reminding the audience to celebrate the wins along the way and focus on proof of concept use cases that bring value and solve real pain points.


Quality Conversations offered attendees the chance to sit in on interviews with seven leaders from different industries and roles to ask them about their experiences with Quality 4.0. The participating quality leaders shared their insights on Quality 4.0, focusing on getting started, prioritizing data handling, and the need for good communication skills. They are summarized below.  

Getting Started With Quality 4.0

  • Start small, or with a pilot project to test an idea or a technology.
  • Begin with a quick win to demonstrate the value and possibilities to get buy-in.
  • Be adaptive and learn as you go.
  • Start now! Learn the capabilities of different options and how to think about them.

Big Data

  • Prioritize the data and getting a handle on it first−data needs cleaning before using.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) initiatives should come after knowing your data, the problems you’re solving, and your business objectives. When it comes to big data you need a plan; you must be prepared and malleable.
  • Comprehensive, real-time data and massive datasets can tell you things you weren’t expecting, and that may come with new opportunities, immediately actionable decisions, and risks. This can be disruptive, but it’s better to disrupt your own organization before your competitors disrupt you.

Communication Skills

  • All types of communication skills are imperative to successful Quality 4.0 implementations. Machines and systems need to be able to communicate with each other. Humans need to be able to communicate with the machines and the systems. Humans need to communicate about the machines and systems with other humans, particularly those in other departments and top management.
  • Quality professionals need to be able to navigate the various communication streams and effectively explain why Quality 4.0 matters to each stake holder and describe the role they play in the bigger picture, the bottom line, and strategic plans.
  • Change management is Critical


There were numerous engaging and innovative sessions available throughout the entire conference. Based on attendees feedback, three sessions stood out from the crowd.

Leading Through Change & Ambiguity: Overcoming Barriers With Better Management Strategy

Speaker: Matt Meuleners, FOCUS Training.

Significant change creates ambiguity that can lead to low morale, anxiety, and risk avoidance behaviors. Understanding the steps to change management increase the chances that your organizational change will be successful. This module focused on tactics learners can use to navigate through emotional and technical challenges that accompany significant change. Participants discussed with peers and develop a plan for engaging their own teams.

People and Process Skills for Industry 4.0

Speaker: Peter Merrill, Quest Management  

The World Economic Forum report, the ‘Future of Jobs’, Identifies 3 critical competencies, and 3 vital areas of knowledge. The vital competencies are Emotional Intelligence which supports Creativity, an imperative in the future, and Creativity, in turn, essential for Complex Problem Solving. Three vital areas of knowledge for a future career are, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning which merge one into another. In this session, attendees discussed the importance of these skills and knowledge areas in the workforce.

Motivational Drivers: Which Ones Exist on Your Teams?

Speaker: Matt Meuleners FOCUS Training

In this session, attendees explored motivation and what drives it from a biological, social, emotional, or cognitive perspective. Participants were introduced to the wide range of motivational drivers through an interactive demonstration called Money Jump, in which volunteers push themselves to reach progressively higher targets. They engaged in a “live case study” method to teach each of four sets of theories on motivation. In this approach, participants used a real-world situation from their own work or personal life as a sample to apply each framework and its best practices. 


A highlight of the Summit was “Quality 4.0 @ Work”, a collaboration session guided by table captains Puneet Dhillon, Kerri Clifton, and Pablo Romo, who are members of our Emerging Quality Leaders Program. Attendees gathered in focused tabletop groups to discuss the factors driving their company’s move toward a Quality 4.0 implementation, vital roles in the pursuit of Quality 4.0, barriers to execution, and identifying key stakeholders in the process. Some of the Discussion highlights were captured by the table captains:

Is your company spending more time or money on Quality 4.0 efforts today than in recent years? If so, what impact has this had on your role in the organization?

All participants agreed that there has been an increased spend on Quality 4.0 efforts, but the ways in which this has affected them−and their organization−differed.  

  • Quality 4.0 changed my job by making more important data more accessible, raising quality awareness within all functions in the company.
  • The introduction of new data measurement and telemetry into consumer products has made possible the making of better decisions faster.
  • After the collapse of oil prices in 2015, my company realized they had to automate. Production yields and profits needed to be improved. The quality department was cut, and engineers were brought in to meet the end user’s needs. A cloud-based application was Implemented to collect structured data. We are still looking into next steps.

What drives your company’s move toward a Quality 4.0 implementation?

Participants believed that their company’s driving force was that Quality 4.0 initiatives will lead to more efficient performance.

  • My company’s goal was to improve processes to improve margins.
  • We would like to use data more efficiently and to show clients the benefits of quality in helping growth. Data being collected varies in usefulness. I am at this Summit to collect ideas.
  • Formerly, many of our solutions were operated without an overarching data strategy. This resulted in isolated technologies. Now it is time to bring them together with Quality 4.0 to be more effective.

What role(s) within your company has been identified as vital to ensuring Quality 4.0 success?

The roles identified differed due to industry and organizational goals.  

  • We decided to bring in more data analysts and data scientists to make sense of data for better implementation. Quality Engineers will then make changes based on the data.
  • IT programmers, system validators, data scientists, data base gurus, and UI designers have been identified as vital roles. 
  • The biggest challenge is for management to get people within the organization on the same page. Operations leaders are needed to align and bring consistent QMS that can affect all divisions within an organization.

What prevents or slows your organization’s progress of Quality 4.0 implementation(s)?

Participants cited that many of the hindrances to progress were regarding buy−in, overall understanding of initiatives, and maintaining high levels of engagement across several departments. 

  • Internally, getting people involved and aware of changes. Assigning roles so they are a part of the implementation. These are both roadblocks I’ve faced.
  • Quality 4.0 is a new concept and not fully understood. It is critical to understand the depth that is needed to communicate the need, as well as the benefits of implementation.
  • Building confidence to work with a diverse group of backgrounds, and from companies with very different levels of Quality 4.0 deployment, is challenging. It was necessary to ensure the conversation remained relevant for all participants.



The Argolytics’ new cloud-based software application is Trendable™. This lightweight and affordable quality control SPC reporting software was built specifically for small and medium-size manufacturers. Try it today at


Engage with this value-added reseller systems integration expert and top-notch quality and compliance consulting company. The team thrives on providing clinical, regulatory, and quality software and services for your organization.


Bisk provides a suite of operational excellence programming from multiple renowned non-profit universities including Villanova, Michigan State, and Florida Tech. Offerings range from single courses to certificates in undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Creato Performance Solutions

Creato has been providing technologies and training to support operational excellence for over 20 years. Today, Creato is a leading provider of Lean Six Sigma deployment and Project Portfolio Management productions including the award-winning COMPASS ® Quality Management System.


MoreSteam provides technology, training and services to help organizations achieve a skillful balance of customer-driven quality, cost, and speed. Expertise encompasses Lean Methods, Lean Six Sigma, Agile Process Design, and PDCA.

Celebrate World Quality Month in 2019!

World Quality Month

Join The Celebration

Join the global quality community to celebrate World Quality Month 2019! World Quality Month (WQM) is a worldwide celebration of quality. It’s a time to showcase the advancement and valuable contributions quality professionals make in businesses, communities, and institutions. This month allows us to shine a light on the industry and the individuals striving to provide excellence through quality.

ASQ has created several downloadable activities and materials to help celebrate! Share your Celebrations with us on social and join the World Quality Month discussion on myASQ.


These banners and headers can be used in e-newletters, webpages, email headers, and other digital channels. Choose from four different sizes, designed to accommodate multiple templates. DOWNLOAD BANNERS

Which Guru Are You?

World Quality Month 2019 What Guru Are You Illustration

Have you ever wondered which Guru you have the most in common with? Now you can find out by taking our Which Guru Are You? quiz! Select the link below and be sure to share your results on social. TAKE THE QUIZ

Desktop and Mobile Wallpapers

Download a WQM wallpaper to showcase the month-long celebration on your desktop and cell phone. Choose from two different designs. DOWNLOAD WALLPAPER


Each day we will be sharing quality trivia and interesting factoids on our Twitter account @ASQ. At the end of each week, we will share the trivia tiles on this page for you to download. Check back each day to download new tiles. DOWNLOAD TRIVIA TILES

Quality Memes

Have your expectations ever differed from reality? This series of images is a lighthearted depiction of some of the misconceptions individuals may face when entering and working in the quality industry. DOWNLOAD MEMES
Have you had a similar experience? Share your story with us on social!


Encourage others to celebrate by downloading printable posters. These posters can be hung in your personal workspace or communal areas in your workplace. Two different sizes are available to accommodate multiple spaces. DOWNLOAD POSTERS

September Roundtable: Agile vs. Lean

Lean and Six Sigma Conference

Don’t miss the opportunity to discuss lean and other topics like change management and risk management at the 2020 ASQ Lean and Six Sigma Conference. Register today to continue the conversation

Over the past few years, Agile has gained popularity. This methodology emerged as a solution to manage projects with a number of unknown elements and to counter the typical waterfall method. Quality practitioners have observed the numerous similarities between this new framework and Lean. Some have speculated that Agile is simply the next generation’s version of Lean. These observations have posed the question:

Is Agile the new Lean?

Members of ASQ Influential Voices shared their thoughts:

Sara Haynes:

I’ve worked with both Agile and Lean in my career. To me, asking if Agile is the new Lean is a little like asking if carpentry is the new plumbing. They are different trades, used for different purposes. Agile is a methodology of designing and developing products, and Lean is a methodology for streamlining operations. I worked at a company that transitioned from a traditional waterfall approach for design requirements, to an Agile method. What struck me most was the dramatic increase in the sense of urgency. It’s hard to get excited about a deadline that is 8 months away – 8 days feels much more real.

Lean is an approach to operations that focusses on flow. Identifying and eliminating barriers that stop flow, and implementing quick and easy solutions now vs. expensive and capital-intensive solutions. With software development, where Agile is most commonly applied, the hardest part is making the first release. Once you have the final release, it’s simply a matter of copying. Whereas with hardware development, the hardest part is not making the first prototype, it’s getting to mass production: being able to produce your design consistently, efficiently and cost-effectively. These are very different challenges that require different solutions. Agile, vs. Lean.

Read her blog.

John Hunter: 

No, Agile is not the new Lean.

There are many useful concepts, tools and practices within what people refer to as agile software development. And the same can be said for lean. But they are distinct approaches (the links in this post flush out this idea more for those interested in learning more on that topic). That isn’t to say an organization cannot design their own solution that adopts ideas found in each approach. In fact doing so for software development makes sense in my opinion.

If you decide to transform your management system using lean management practices as a focus I think you can do great things. I would delve deeply into lean and also learn about Deming and agile software development. And if you decide to create an agile styled management system then do that and learn from Deming and lean as you continually improve. In either case continually iterate and improve they management practices that are used.

Read the full article on his blog.

Nicole Radziwill:

The short answer to this question is: NO.

The longer answer is one I’m going to have to hold back some emotions to answer. Why? I have two reasons.

Reason #1: There is No Magic Bullet
First, many managers are on a quest for the silver bullet — a methodology or a tool that they can implement on Monday, and reap benefits no later than Friday. Neither lean nor agile can make this happen. But it’s not uncommon to see organizations try this approach. A workgroup will set up a Kanban board or start doing daily stand-up meetings, and then talk about how they’re “doing agile.” Now that agile is in place, these teams have no reason to go any further.

Reason #2: There is Nothing New Under the Sun
Neither approach is “new” and neither is going away. Lean principles have been around since Toyota pioneered its production system in the 1960s and 1970s. The methods prioritized value and flow, with attention to reducing all types of waste everywhere in the organization. Agile emerged in the 1990s for software development, as a response to waterfall methods that couldn’t respond effectively to changes in customer requirements.
Agile modeling uses some lean principles: for example, why spend hours documenting flow charts in Visio, when you can just write one on a whiteboard, take a photo, and paste it into your documentation? Agile doesn’t have to be perfectly lean, though. It’s acceptable to introduce elements that might seem like waste into processes, as long as you maintain your ability to quickly respond to new information and changes required by customers. (For example, maybe you need to touch base with your customers several times a week. This extra time and effort is OK in agile if it helps you achieve your customer-facing goals.)Both lean and agile are practices. They require discipline, time, and monitoring. Teams must continually hone their practice, and learn about each other as they learn together. There are no magic bullets.

Information plays a key role. Effective flow of information from strategy to action is important for lean because confusion (or incomplete communication) and forms of waste. Agile also emphasizes high-value information flows, but for slightly different purposes — that include promoting:
- Rapid understanding
- Rapid response
- Rapid, targeted, and effective action

Read the full article on her blog.

Luciana Paulise:

Companies nowadays are no longer focusing on standardizing and ensuring quality. Quality is no longer value-added, is required. Lean and six sigma implementations are falling short, not because of quality issues, but because employees are not engaged enough to change. Unhappy employees equal unhappy customers. Now what, is agile the new lean?

Lean and six sigma process improvement approaches started in the auto industry and manufacturing in the ‘50s, and were successfully applied to other industries. Nevertheless, the software industry that grew significantly during the ‘90s realized that these quality practices were not fast enough. They needed to iterate faster to innovate faster. Being the customer favorite became a survival need, and they couldn’t do it without the ideas of their employees. Millennials in their workplace started asking for different ways of working. That’s how a group of IT experts developed the Agile Thinking Manifesto in 2001. They applied lean principles and tools to reduce waste and combined them with other idea generation tools and team enablers to bring innovation to the workplace more easily.

While lean provides a set of methods like 5S, kanban, just in time, agile is a cultural mindset, a way of thinking about how an organization should work. As Stephen says in his book The Era of Agile “in any particular organization, the practices that emerge will be the result of an interaction between the agile mindset and the specific organizational context”, which may include lean practices. So it is not “either agile or lean”, you can be both. For example, when I implement 5S, I always include in the training an introduction to an agile “we culture” mindset, so that team members can understand the true purpose behind the implementation.

Read the full article on her blog: