Networking at WCQI 2016

Looking to expand your professional network? ASQ’s World Conference on Quality and Improvement, held May 16-18 in Milwaukee, offers many chances to network with other quality professionals. Be sure to take advantage of the below sessions and events to expand your network and connect with other conference attendees. Don’t miss this great opportunity–registration for this event is still open!

Conference Kick-off
Following the opening session and keynote on Monday morning, this is an opportunity for attendees to meet in the exhibit hall with other conference participants, connect with old acquaintances, and visit with our exhibitors and sponsors.

After 5 Sessions
Held early Monday evening, these sessions are less formal than our other technical sessions and include a social component which adds to the level of interaction between the facilitator and the participants, as well as the participants and their peers. A sampling of this year’s sessions: Becoming a Chess Master with DMAIC, In Search of Quixote: Inner Dawns and Looming Knights, and ASQ Young Quality Professionals: Your Career is a Start-Up.

Milwaukee Night Out
On Monday evening, attendees will have the opportunity to experience Milwaukee’s night life. Busses will run continuously in a loop that goes from the Convention Center to the Third Ward, Old World 3rd Street, and Water street, and will have complimentary fare for conference attendees.

Engagement with Local Establishments
A number of local restaurants and establishments will be offering discounts to conference attendees. You will only need show a conference badge to receive the discount at more than 40 local establishments. Stop by the Visit Milwaukee area in the Convention Center with any questions.

Satellite Sessions
Six additional sessions will be held in offsite locations, in addition to 100+ breakout sessions at the convention center throughout the run of the conference. These locations include The Water Council and UWM’s School of Freshwater Sciences. Each remote venue will hold one session a day for the three days of the event. Simply sign up for the session and the transportation and logistics will be taken care of.

Tuesday’s Networking Reception This year’s spotlight networking event will take place at the Harley-Davidson Museum, where conference attendees can connect with each other in the midst of one of Milwaukee’s most iconic brands.

And don’t forget to network through social media! Use #WCQI16 to connect with other conference attendees and post about your experience.

What events and opportunities have you discovered for successful networking at WCQI and other conferences?

Posted in Networking, Uncategorized, World Conference on Quality and Improvement | Comments Off

Roundtable: Voice of the Customer

Every month, ASQ selects a quality-themed topic or question for Influential Voices bloggers to discuss as part of a round table. The April topic is Voice of the Customer.

What exactly should voice of the customer mean to the quality professional? How important is it? What are the best ways to gather it?

If you’re interested in taking part in future roundtables, please contact social@asq.org.

Luciana Paulise is a business consultant and founder of Biztorming Training & Consulting. She blogs about quality and continuous improvement for small and medium size businesses, both in English and in Spanish, at www.biztorming.com.

The customer is always right, but how do we know what do they mean by right?

Common tools to capture the voice of the customer are surveys, focus groups and mystery shoppers, though there are new tools and methodologies to get the VOC faster and cheaper.

• Pilot tests: many Entrepreneurs are already into it to develop new products. A core component of Lean Startup methodology is the build-measure-learn feedback loop. The first step is figuring out the problem that needs to be solved and then developing a minimum viable product (MVP) to offer the customer in order to begin the process of learning.
• Social networks: using Facebook, twitter, Instagram, blogs and other networking tools to promote your business, you can not only engage your audience and let them know what you are up to, but you can also get the their insights, depending on the number visits, likes, favorites and comments.
• Trained personnel: employees are one of the best source of information in regards to customer desires. They should be trained not only to assist the customer but also to
listen to them and communicate their needs to upper management.

Read more from Luciana’s blog here.

Pam Schodt is an ASQ Certified Quality Engineer and a member of the Raleigh, North Carolina, section of ASQ, where she volunteers on the Communication Committee. Her blog, Quality Improvements in Work and Life, includes posts about certification testing, book reviews, and lifestyle issues.

The customer is the driving force of organizations.

The best way to gather Voice of the Customer standards is through face-to-face meetings followed up by written and verified specifications. In my experience, the earlier the quality professional is involved in communication with the customer, the better. A relationship is built so an exchange of quality data can flow back and forth. This foundation of trust and professionalism creates a basis for quality improvement and superior products and services.

To read more feedback from Pam, click here.

Dr. Suresh Gettala works as a Director for ASQ South Asia. He is a seasoned quality expert with a unique blend of academic/research as well as industry experience, and also holds the coveted ASQ MBB (CMBB) certification.

Comprehending the requirements of customers continues to be a challenge irrespective of the type of industry that we are in. In many cases, even identifying all the customers is a delicate task.

How do we go about effectively managing customer requirements? The key is to hear from the “horse’s mouth” and not make any surmise about what the customer wants. How do we react to the captured customer voice would eventually determine how well we understand our customers.

When you are attempting to understand the requirements of customers, especially in B2B business, you need to understand that there are two types of requirements – one at the product/transaction level and one at the relationship level. Product/transaction level requirements are often addressed by having a robust requirements gathering and management process. In contrast, there is no such direct method to understand the requirements at the relationship level. At this level managing the customer wants is more of an art rather than science.

Read more feedback from Suresh by visiting his blog.

Luigi Sillé is the Quality Manager at Red Cross Blood Bank Foundation in Curaçao, an island in the Caribbean. He has been a senior ASQ member since 2014, and blogs at sharequality.wordpress.com.

The voice of the Customer (VOC), is a process used to get information about customer expectations, preferences and dislikes.

The Voice of the Customer helps you prioritize on those aspects that are valuable to your customers, and eliminate those that are not (you can absolutely lower your WASTE). The Voice of the Customer also helps in identifying GAPS in your service and or products. It provides early stage warnings, so management can pro-actively react on them. To stay competitive in this modern world, the Voice of the customer is the KEY.

Gathering data is important, but collecting it and not using the results is called: Waste. It’s waste of money, time, and effort.

So as soon as the data is received, quality professionals must analyze it, differentiate it and use it to improve, and /or adapt. Management in his turn must prioritize, and act to improve, thus delivering what the customer wants.

To read more feedback from Luigi, visit his blog.

Robert Mitchell retired from 3M last June, where he was known as “Quality Bob.” He has been an ASQ member for over three decades, and recently moved to Phoenix, where he runs a strategic quality leadership consulting business, QualityBob®Consulting. He blogs at roberthmitchell.blogspot.com/.

When attempting to define the “customer” it is important that everyone involved in the commercialization process agree on the target customer. One might assume that the customer is the end-user, consumer. But it is often not enough to just consider the end-user needs; the end-user might not be the purchasing decision-maker. For example, who decides what products get placed on store shelves, placed in catalogs, placed in the office supply room, stocked in the parts crib, or made available for on-line purchase… who is the “Gatekeeper”? In a B2B model, what are the Buyer’s needs? What influences the Gatekeeper and Buyer purchasing decision? How can your product, brand, or organization help that trade/channel customer achieve its strategic goals better than your competition can? In today’s global market where product can be purchased from virtually anywhere on the planet via the World Wide Web, what regulatory, statutory and/or Governmental needs must be satisfied? Of course, let us not forget the Internal customer. How effectively are internal customer & downstream process requirements understood and met by the previous process (internal supplier)? Where can waste and inventory be eliminated in the Value Stream?

Read more feedback from Bob, visit his blog.

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Cultural Barriers Companies Face When Trying to Strengthen a Culture of Quality

This is a guest post by James Lawther, who describes himself as a middle-aged middle-manager. To reach this highly elevated position he has worked for multiple organizations, from supermarkets to tax collectors in a host of operational roles, including running the night shift for a frozen pea packing factory and doing operational research for a credit card company.

Based in the U.K., James is also an ASQ Influential Voice blogger and writes about quality issues at www.squawkpoint.com.

I was once told that beliefs drive behavior. That seems to be a sensible assertion. There may be other factors–habit for example–but I can’t think of a stronger one. If you take that thought and add that culture is the sum of all the ways people behave in an organization, then it is easy to make the mental leap that beliefs also drive culture.
To change a culture you need to understand and change its beliefs.

What is a belief?
A belief is something that we think is true, even though we have no evidence or absolute proof of that fact.

There are lots of management beliefs that we think will drive a business forward. But if you dig a little deeper you will see they do the exact opposite.

Let me give you a handful of examples, a belief, an alternative view and a piece of evidence.

Have a read and ask yourself if these beliefs good for our organizations. Or is there enough evidence to support an alternative view?

Belief – We need short-term targets
If we have short-term targets we will strive to hit them. They keep us on the boil and give us management credibility. If we hit all our targets we will be an excellent business over the long term.
Alternative view – Short-term targets drive short termism. It is easy hit this quarter’s numbers by mortgaging next quarter. Repeatedly hitting short-term targets does little for long term improvement.

Does Jeff Bezos take a short-term view of Amazon’s performance?
Belief – We must have centers of excellence
If all our functions are excellent we will have an excellent business.
Alternative view – Striving for functional excellence quickly pits functions against each other. This just causes friction and rivalry. What is really important is how the functions work together, not individually. Functional excellence does little for teamwork.

Did inter-functional rivalry between defense agencies help the September 11 attacks?
Belief – Failure is bad
We must not fail. Failure is just another word for poor performance. No great business can allow poor performance. Failure is a sign of weakness.
Alternative view – The only way we really learn anything new is if we fail. The only way to learn how to ride a bike is to fall off one. It is easy to avoid failure – stick with want you know – but if you don’t try anything new, how will you ever learn or improve?

What did failure do for James Dyson?
Belief – We must manage the performance of our staff
If we have the best individuals then we will have the best organisation. We should actively “performance manage” our staff to make sure we get the best out of them.
Alternative view – performance management only ever results in fear or jealousy. People are either scared for their jobs or jealous of the bonuses awarded to “high performers.” Both of these emotions are hugely destructive. They do nothing at all for organizational improvement.

What did 10 years of performance management do for Microsoft?
Belief – Our people must be productive
The best way to maximize efficiency is to sweat the “human capital.” We must get the most possible out of our people.

Alternative view – If your staff are absolutely focused on their day job, you don’t give them any capacity to do anything else. Your staff are the people who are best placed to improve their work, they understand it best of all. Shouldn’t you give them the time to do that?

Where would Google be without 20% time?
Belief – We should use current best practice
We should incorporate the latest cutting-edge thinking into our business. If we don’t include it, then our competitors will.
Alternative view – if you constantly switch approaches and strategies you will never implement any of them well. Current best practice never lasts long. There is always a shiny new approach that is guaranteed results, until a better idea comes along. Success comes from sticking with an approach, not continually rolling out the latest approach.
Why are there so many different approaches to quality management?

Beliefs are insidious
They are everywhere, we take them for granted and they reinforce each other. How about adding the following to the list?
• Managers should direct – how about they support?
• We must incentivize our staff – do you need incentives?
• We need more leaders – how about fewer good ones?
• We must benchmark performance – wouldn’t your effort be better spent on improvement?
How many other beliefs could you add to the list?

The problem with beliefs
If you really want a quality culture, you have to challenge and change the incumbent belief system that is getting in the way.

Of course it isn’t that easy. The really tough – but hardly surprising – thing about beliefs is that we all have them and we are all blindsided by them. What about the beliefs I put forward? Are mine any more robust than the incumbent ones? What does the evidence suggest? Or perhaps a better question would be…

What do you believe?

Posted in Uncategorized, culture | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

2016 Manufacturing Outlook Survey: Qualified Applicants Wanted

An increasing number of U.S. manufacturers now struggle to find qualified applicants for open positions, according to the ASQ 2016 Manufacturing Outlook Survey.

What did respondents give for the biggest challenges when hiring for a vacant position? The lack of qualified applicants, followed by the time it takes to hire a new employee. Lack of budget to fill open positions also was a hurdle for manufacturers.

In order to help find skilled applicants, 55 percent of manufacturers say they’ve hired an agency and 41 percent are working with local colleges on programs that teach the required skills.

While manufacturers are split on the impact retirements will have on their organizations or quality, the overwhelming majority rely on on-the-job training to transfer knowledge from retiring workers to new employees. Company-provided classroom training and training through a third-party are less common.

Although the respondents are less confident in the economy compared to past years, the majority expect their organization to increase salaries. And, according to the data, while 19 percent of manufacturers expect their organization to reduce staff, 81 percent expect to maintain current staffing levels or hire additional staff.

Posted in Uncategorized, conferences | Comments Off

ISO 9001:2015 Infographics

Check out these infographics on ISO 9001:2015! These are designed to help spread the word about the new revision and the ways ASQ can help you and your organization adjust. The straightforward answers about the differences between this revision and the previous make it a handy reference on the basics of ISO 9001:2015. Download your copy!

Note: the content of both versions is the same.
Infographic on ISO 9001 – Version 1
Infographic on ISO 9001 – Version 2

Posted in Standards, Uncategorized, iso 9000 | 3 Comments

Are Professional Associations Built to Exist in 2066?

My name is Shontra Powell and I’m privileged to serve as ASQ’s new Chief Operating Officer.

I am blessed to have enjoyed increasing responsibilities of leadership over my 25 year career in for-profit business. It is my desire to leverage this perspective to further develop my offerings as a leader with impact. This desire has led to my career advancement at ASQ—a non-profit with mission-focused work.

In the new economy, there is an opportunity for leaders to connect the historical gap between commercial interests and social impact. I believe that I am in the right place, at the right time, to sharpen my understanding of this new leadership opportunity, and to grow my offerings to the society with rich and practical experience.

In recent months, I have given a lot of thought to the biggest challenges facing today’s associations, including ASQ. In this essay, I share my perspective—and vision—for the future of the association, including, of course, ASQ. Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are my own, and don’t necessarily reflect those of ASQ.

Professional, or trade, associations have been in existence since the early 19th century. These groups usually formed usually as a nonprofit organization that existed to further a profession, or the interests of the individuals engaged in that profession, as well as the public interest. Today, there are more than 92,000 associations in the U.S., many of which are based in the U.S. association capital of Washington D.C.

A few dynamics can shape the story for associations in the future:

1) The speed at which data and information is developed outpaces a professional’s ability to integrate diverse points of consideration within a mental model for the timely formulation of opinion, decision and use.
2) The increasing acknowledgment of social connectivity as a psychological factor for well-being; and new models for connection replacing old models (i.e., from dinner meetings to WhatsApp).
3) The evolution of what it means to be mission-driven, and what it means to become a member; and the currency/cost of joining.
4) The global body of knowledge serves as the new norm for problem solving.

When asking the members of a particular association on why they are members, clear themes take shape. Members seek their own growth personally and professionally, and see the association as a key resource. Also, members express an interest in being a part of a community, and based on age demographics, this can range from a “physical group” that I participate with to “the knowledge that I am connected” to a mission.

With consideration for the now economy, members would prefer a real-time channel of information that connects them to a body of knowledge, based on what they are seeking at a given point in time.

Members will have a new paradigm for serving their role of member.

Members will no longer see value in paying to participate in dinners and conferences as the norm for receiving impactful developments in their field of interest, and, instead, members will require intellectual insights that can help them to perform better in their profession, instantaneously.

The association of the future will shift from “body of knowledge” – accessible via a portal on a website and pruned regularly to “channels of discussion” –latest and best, 24×7.

Leveraging the amalgamation of a … Google-like content database + Sirius-like frequency of discussion + LinkedIn-like connections + Facebook-like personas + Open-source cross-geography access for problem-solving, the association of the future will further the advancement of professionals by extending their knowledge base via a respected community of participants.

The membership model shifts would include…

Annual fees and conferences are deemphasized and “value of contribution” becomes the new currency (called breakthrough equity). A member would earn breakthrough equity as a rating from global peers within the connected community (similar to a “like” on Facebook). This equity would be the cost of participation (or invitation) to mission-driven, global conferences and other thought leadership forums.

Association members are asking for “just-in-time” information and “how-to” guides today. The challenge for many associations is that this new requirement must be supported by a robust technology capability and systematized information; all of which have not been a traditional strength, or investment. In short, many desire to be the “Google” for the knowledge that they value; however, they fall within a chasm between their current state and this vision.

Macroeconomic trends will inevitably impact the evolution of professional associations. If they take a strategy focused on building a robust future model, however, we will see associations in the future. The future association will be designed to serve and strengthen the knowledge worker who is seeking advancement of mission and increased impact on his or her field of study, science, government, and society.

What’s your future vision for the associations you take part in—whether they are ASQ or another group?

Posted in ASQ, Current Events, Customer Service, Uncategorized, associations, social media | Tagged , | 12 Comments

ASQ Survey: STEM Careers and Teaching

“While STEM careers like engineering and software development are getting more well-deserved attention in recent years, it’s STEM teachers who will equip our youth with the knowledge and skills to gather and evaluate evidence, make sense of information across a wide range of fields, and solve tough problems” – William Troy, ASQ CEO

Many experts agree that science education is essential—unfortunately, there’s less consensus about the value of education as a career.  Although 90% of parents would encourage their children to pursue a science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career, 87% say they would be concerned if their child decided to pursue a career as a K-12 STEM teacher, according to an online survey conducted by The Harris Poll on behalf of ASQ in January. The survey was fielded to 644 parents of children under 18 living in the household.
Only 9% of parents would encourage their children to pursue STEM teaching as a career, according to the survey. The top three careers they would desire their children to pursue include:
• Engineering – 50%
• Doctor – 41%
• Computer/IT analyst – 27%

In a separate survey conducted by ASQ, K-12 educators indicated which STEM carrier they would encourage their own children to pursue:
• Engineering – 74 %
• Scientist – 44%
• Computer/IT analyst – 33%
• STEM Teacher – 29%

Why are parents and educators so hesitant to encourage their children to pursue a STEM teaching career? Pay. According to the Harris survey of parents:
• 70% of parents and 77% of educators polled by ASQ worry their child may not make enough money as a teacher.
• 69% of parents and 82% of educators are concerned that STEM teachers may not be compensated enough for their heavy workloads.
• 65% of parents say that a STEM teaching career may not be worth the cost of a college degree.
• 67% of educators say that STEM teaching positions may not offer a path for career advancement.

Key takeaways? Financial incentives, such as higher salaries, career growth opportunities, and college scholarships for STEM careers, would make STEM teaching more attractive to parents and educators.

What do you think should be done to encourage children to pursue a STEM teaching career?  Would better compensation for STEM educators truly change the current perception of this career?
Posted in STEM, Uncategorized, career, engineering, engineers | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Roundtable: Influential Voices on Careers in Quality

Every month, ASQ selects a quality-themed topic or question for Influential Voices bloggers to discuss as part of a round table. For February’s Influential Voices round table, careers in quality, we asked our bloggers three questions:

  • Where do you plan to take your career in 2016?
  • What’s your view of careers in quality today—what challenges is this field facing?
  • How can someone starting out in quality succeed?
  • Here is what a few of them had to say:

    Suresh Lulla has been a Quality Management consultant and trainer for nearly three decades. He is the founder of Qimpro, whose mission is building brand made in India. He blogs at sureshlulla.com/blog.

    I will focus on the digital customer; offering Quality Management services that are better, faster, cheaper and different! I will write stories that are catalyzed by my experiences in Quality Management consulting I will avoid travel, to reduce my carbon footprint.
    Quality professionals must proactively court digital customers. This will require proficient Knowledge Management. In turn, this knowledge must feed into the Product Development processes in order to deliver better, faster, cheaper and different results! Quality professionals should be adept at global soft skills. Geographical boundaries have dissolved. Will Quality professionals be a threat to Marketing?

    My prescription for someone starting out in Quality is simple: Make understanding customer needs your obsession, learn to communicate customer needs to the Product Development team, learn to map processes and rid the subject processes of waste and wasteful work, and treat the workers with dignity.

    To read more feedback from Suresh, visit his blog.

    Luigi Sillé is the Quality Manager at Red Cross Blood Bank Foundation in Curaçao, an island in the Caribbean.  He has been a senior ASQ member since 2014, and blogs at sharequality.wordpress.com.

    Being competitive is the only way organizations can survive in the future.
    This can be done through creativity and innovation.  Through customer surveys and brainstorming sessions, quality professionals can guarantee continuous improvement. This allows us to anticipate the needs and wants of our clients.

    To read more feedback from Luigi, visit his blog.

    Ted Hessing owns SixSigmaStudyGuide.com, a website with hundreds of articles dedicated to Six Sigma training techniques and methods. He blogs at sixsigmastudyguide.com/blog-page.

    In an effort to reduce the sheer volume, I focused on the 80-20 principle; what are the primary drivers that would enable success. This is what I came up with in no specific order;
    1. Read.
    2. Find mentors.
    3. When in doubt, solve a problem for someone else.
    That’s it. That’s the advice I will give my own children as they grow up.

    To read more feedback from Ted, visit his blog.

    Robert Mitchell retired from 3M last June, where he was known as “Quality Bob.”  He has been an ASQ member for over three decades, and recently moved to Phoenix, where he runs a strategic quality leadership consulting business, QualityBob®Consulting.  He blogs at roberthmitchell.blogspot.com/.

    Thirty+ years of ASQ membership, participation on various ASQ National committees, member-leadership roles in ASQ Divisions and Sections, numerous papers presented at the World Conference of Quality and Improvement (WCQI), membership in the Performance Excellence Network (PEN) and service as a Baldrige Evaluator to the state of Minnesota, all played important roles in broadening my professional network leading to professional growth.

    My most cherished role is that of mentor and coach. I am so proud to have helped influence the careers and professional growth of my direct reports and mentees, and to have helped shape and sustain the business success of my internal clients and external organizations.

    To today’s students and apprentices of quality, I encourage you to seek out a trusted mentor, participate in professional member societies of quality and organizational excellence, contribute your knowledge, skills, talents and passion to local communities and non-profits, and engage in special projects to broaden your experiences.

    To read more feedback from Bob, visit his blog.

    Nicole Radziwill received her Ph.D in Quality from Indiana State and now teaches in the Department of Integrated Science and Technology (ISAT) at James Madison University (JMU). She blogs at qualityandinnovation.com.

    Just starting out in quality? My advice is to get a technical degree (science, math, or engineering) which will provide you with a solid foundation for understanding the new modes of production that are on the horizon. Industrial engineering, operations research, industrial design, and mechanical engineering are great fits for someone who wants a career in quality, as are statistics, data science, manufacturing engineering, and telecommunications.

    Cybersecurity and intelligence will become increasingly more central to quality management, so these are also good directions to take. Or, consider applying for an interdisciplinary program like JMU’s Integrated Science and Technology where I teach. We’re developing a new 21-credit sector right now where you can study EVERYTHING in the list above! Also, certifications are a plus, but in addition to completing training programs be sure to get formally certified by a professional organization to make sure that your credentials are widely recognized (e.g. through ASQ and ATMAE).

    To read more feedback from Nicole, visit her blog.

    Sunil Kaushik has more than a decade of experience in project and quality management with Fortune 100 companies. His next project is a round-the-world bicycle tour with a mission to train as many schools and universities on quality along the way. He blogs at trainntrot.com/wp.

    Sunil shared some of his professional goals for the year 2016 with this impressive list:
    • “Solve 100 high-impact Lean Six Sigma problems through TRIZ. The more problems I solve using TRIZ I wonder why is not as popular as Lean or Six Sigma, and the solutions are straight forward and it can work 10 times faster than Six Sigma projects.
    • Train TRIZ in at least 20 schools/Universities around the world. The beauty of TRIZ is, it is fun, simple and can help kids from the age of 10 start innovating and solving day-to-day problems. I just completed two in Thailand and 18 more to go.
    • Interview 20 top quality management professionals from different domains. This would be basically to understand their problem solving approach, how each industry operates, what kind of role does geography and culture play on quality management.
    • Publish a Book – It would be a fusion of my travel adventures, quality and the problem/opportunities I have observed on the route that might be a good start-up opportunity.
    • Publish white papers and articles – Last year I had an opportunity to publish eight papers with quality journals.  Now being unemployed, I have more time and should be able to publish more and contribute more to quality.
    • Conduct free Six Sigma Black Belt workshops for companies and universities.
    • 10 day Vipassana – I will be attending the 10-day Vipassana course in Vietnam, which is one of the items that has been pending for the past three years. Being a minimalist, this course will help me in cleansing my mind, staying focused, and enhancing my creativity.”

    To read more feedback from Sunil, visit his blog.

    If you’d like to take part in future View From the Q roundtables, please contact social@asq.org for more information.

    Posted in Quality, Uncategorized, career | Tagged , | 2 Comments

    Evolving Quality to Enable and Support a Global Digital Organization

    This is a guest post by Prem Ranganath, a senior director and global head of IT delivery excellence and risk assurance at Quintiles Inc. He is passionate about introducing a quality mindset and practices in school from kindergarten so that quality is ingrained into interactions and decisions early on. Prem teaches a graduate level course on software quality and product management at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wis. He blogs at The Art of Quality.

    As a champion for quality and continuous improvement, it is always interesting to use the future lens to predict where quality is headed. While the perspectives I share here are from an IT organization’s perspective, I believe that many of the trends I refer to are applicable to all functions and industries.

    In my experience, the following are the top three trends that are shaping the future of quality in IT, based on current and emerging customer expectations.

    1. Quality has a strategic role in enabling successful digitization and digital product management

    While the aspiration for digitization has been in corporate corridors for several years, along with some pockets of accomplishment to tout, there is a more concerted understanding now as to what it really takes to become digital.

    We know that becoming a truly digital enterprise requires a committed transformation. Building, sustaining, and scaling this transformation across functions and/or geographies is not merely a technology problem.  It is evident that a successful digital transformation requires meticulous orchestration of peoples’ capabilities, processes, data, and cultural factors. Digital transformation also requires the coordination and balancing of a dual enterprise model (innovative digital organization and business-as-usual components). These factors must be managed and ensure that customers’ quality of experience is not compromised.

    The quality organization can be an enabling force in driving change with a keen eye on institutionalizing a culture of quality. A critical factor for this cultural shift is to enable a shared commitment to quality and doing away with any reminiscence of a siloed approach to quality.

    2. Focusing on a Minimum Acceptable Product (MAP) is important for Minimum Viable Products (MVP) to succeed

    The Lean Startup movement  is seeing rapid adoption in large enterprises. There are several case studies and metrics to show that it is possible to scale the lean startup framework within large organizations. The enterprise class lean startup has led some people to assume that this is an opportunity to eliminate disciplined processes and deliverables, although this is not true.

    The viability (MVP) of an idea is an important consideration to evolve and validate through experimentation. However, as validated ideas enter the mainstream of development and scale, the need to ensure the acceptability (MAP) of the product by customers requires an adequate blend of agility and experimentation in defining, implementing, and improving processes and practices.

    A dual enterprise model cannot be successful by decoupling the lean mindset and MVP from the primary delivery framework and methods. The lean startup principles and Lean Startup Canvas are simple and proven to be successful when they are integrated into an organization’s delivery framework. It is important not to create a divide (or even the perception of a divide) in an organization by requiring one part of the organization to adopt lean startup, while insisting that another stick to legacy or a homegrown hybrid framework.

    Integrating lean startup principles and enabling the mindset of outcome-driven teams within a large organization can be very interesting and rewarding. The integrated model can be a great opportunity to blend agility with discipline, and the quality organization can be an important influencer, enabler, and advocate for this change.

    3. Expectations for quality are increasingly focused on collective experiences

    In an increasingly connected and cloud-enabled world, the scope of what we have known to represent “quality”’ has changed. Quality is no longer a space that is centered only on Total Quality Management (TQM) principles and software engineering practices.

    In recent years, quality has begun to represent the convergence of TQM, software engineering, user experience, security (cyber and other), and risk management. A growing recognition and acceptance that a culture of quality is the critical factor that enables quality to be organically integrated into practices, deliverables, and decisions. If this factor is not prioritized, the odds of seeing lasting success with product and service quality will be severely diminished.  Not even the “coolest” of methodologies and tools can improve product quality if the softer aspects, including the enablement of a culture of quality, are not addressed.

    As mentioned in #1 above, as customers’ expectations for quality have shifted from the product or service to the quality of collective experiences (product or service quality, interactions, decisions deliverables, value realization), it is timely for quality organizations to revisit their objectives and engagement model. To provide assurance on the collective experience, it is important for quality consultants and practitioners to transcend the traditional software engineering view of quality and revisit the other facets of what represents quality.

    Posted in Quality, lean | 5 Comments

    Changing Company Culture: December Round Up

    Luciana Paulise, ASQ Influential Voices blogger, reflects on what determines organizational culture and how factors define a company’s culture in a recent blog post. She concludes that company culture is modeled on top management behavior, as they control which habits and behaviors are rewarded or punished.   Listing four human types of intelligence, Luciana emphasizes that leaders must first change their behavior, and “walk the talk” if they want to change the entire company culture.

    Throughout the month of December, ASQ Influential Voices bloggers contributed their thoughts on how culture is changed within an entire organizations in response Luciana’s ideas.

    John Hunter posts in his blog that for significant changes to culture, transformation of the individual is required. Citing W. Edwards Deming, John states that changes to the culture come from significant changes in how people think.

    Daniel Zrymiak recommends that leaders apply the AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Decisions, and Actions) method in order to change the culture of quality within an organization. Expanding on these four points, Dan notes that there are no immediate solutions, and incremental improvements must be reinforced with each resolved issue.

    Pam Schrodt suggests that companies center on understanding and respecting people to create a workplace that promotes cooperation to reach goals.  She also provides links to a helpful video and a previous blog on the topic.

    Manu Vora brings his decades of professional experience in his perspective on strengthening a culture of quality: leadership commitment, engagement, involvement, and support are crucial in creating Zero Defects Organization Culture.

    Luciana Paulise, ASQ Influential Voices blogger, reflects on what determines organizational culture and how factors define a company’s culture in a recent blog post. She concludes that company culture is modeled on top management behavior, as they control which habits and behaviors are rewarded or punished.   Listing four human types of intelligence, Luciana emphasizes that leaders must first change their behavior, and “walk the talk” if they want to change the entire company culture.

    Throughout the month of December, ASQ Influential Voices bloggers contributed their thoughts on how culture is changed within an entire organizations in response Luciana’s ideas.

    John Hunter posts in his blog that for significant changes to culture, transformation of the individual is required. Citing W. Edwards Deming, John states that changes to the culture come from significant changes in how people think.

    Daniel Zrymiak recommends that leaders apply the AIDA (Awareness, Interest, Decisions, and Actions) method in order to change the culture of quality within an organization. Expanding on these four points, Dan notes that there are no immediate solutions, and incremental improvements must be reinforced with each resolved issue.

    Pam Schrodt suggests that companies center on understanding and respecting people to create a workplace that promotes cooperation to reach goals.  She also provides links to a helpful video and a previous blog on the topic.

    Manu Vora brings his decades of professional experience in his perspective on strengthening a culture of quality: leadership commitment, engagement, involvement, and support are crucial in creating Zero Defects Organization Culture.

    Posted in Influential Voices, culture, leadership | Tagged , | 1 Comment