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

    Top 11 Insights From ASQ’s Future of Quality Study

    Every three years, ASQ publishes a study on the future of quality. The 2015 edition, which you can read here, is unusual in that it’s a compilation of essays mostly from experts outside the field of quality.

    Unlike previous editions of the research, most of the topics are not about quality exactly, but rather about fields that will impact quality directly and indirectly in the next decade. The topics range from city planning to global aerospace and defense, to the Internet.

    In this post we’ve compiled the “key” insights from each of the 11 essays in the Future of Quality research. Interested in reading more? Remember, you can access the entire complication at the Future of Quality site.

    Adaptable leaders must be rewarded on attributes like self-awareness and constant
    learning, not only on meeting a sales quota or exceeding a revenue target.

    Stanley McChrystal and Rodney Evans, from “The Future of Leadership: From Efficiency To Adaptability.”

    Unlike the proprietary counterparts that it soon eclipsed, the Internet has no main menu, no CEO, and no business plan. Anything could be built on top of it without permission of a central authority… To see the multidimensionality of quality in the information space is to understand the breathtaking array of choices and trade offs.

    Jonathan Zittrain, from “The Future of the Internet: Balancing Security With Openness in the Internet of Things.”

    We must also use quality and continuous improvement to eliminate design features or flaws that can be exploited….Interconnectedness…increases the need for quality at the component and the system level, so that errors and failures are eliminated before their effects propagate through the system.”

    Stephen Rosen, from “The Future of Global Aerospace and Defense: Implications of International Trends for Quality.”

    (Smart manufacturing) and the roles for new IT capabilities in a manufacturing enterprise must grow from the interoperation of physical, cyber, and workforce elements… Can enterprise performance with new IT be predicted so that entry points for smart manufacturing systems can be identified?

    Jim Davis, from “The Future of Manufacturing: Briding Seams and Transactions to Integrate Next-Generation Information Technology.”

    Quality concepts and the spirit of continuous improvement will be crucial to consolidating a new culture of public administration.

    Izabel Christina Cotta Matte, from “The Future of Cities: Quality, Planning, and Excellence in Public Sector Management.”

    “The advent of digital technology, big data, and customization will impact education at all levels and of all types…In the future we will have more data about student learning than ever before, and we will have better systems to help us analyze it.”

    JoAnn Sternke, from “The Future of Education: Quality Teachers for the 21st Century.”

    The nature of energy will be shifting from being focused on acquiring and distributing commodity resources to being centered on knowledge-driven and technology-based renewable energy…In the future, buildings will be hubs of energy production and storage as well as consumption.

    Zheng Mingguang, from “The Future of Energy: Long-Term Trends and Global Implications.”

    As the customers’ experience with the product or service develops over time, so they will tend to develop trust and confidence with the brand, provided their experience is positive…Customers don’t know what they need, and different customers perceive their needs based upon their unique psychological experiments.

    Gregory and Andrew Watson, from “The Future of Customer Experience (CEx): CEx Becomes the Dominant Design Force Influencing Markets.”

    The good news is that large, complex, unstructured problems are exactly the type of
    problems that the statistical engineering approach was designed to handle.

    Ronald Snee and Roger Hoerl, “The Future of Quality: Getting Better All the Time.”

    In the highly competitive future environment emerging in the global market, there is a need to develop a concept of quality for sales that has to be practiced in addition to quality for cost.

    Noriaki Kano, from “The Future of Quality: Toward Quality for Sales in Addition to Quality for Cost Through Enhancement of Customer Satisfaction.”

    Less than 15 to 20 percent of the world’s population can afford any of the surgeries of the heart, brain, joint replacement, or those standard in cancer treatment…Scaling health access more broadly moving forward will require rethinking business models and similarly expanding and efficiently utilizing pools of resources.

    Devi Shetty, from “The Future of Healthcare: Toward a Global Medical Universe.”

    Posted in Futures Study | Tagged | Comments Off

    Influential Voices Reaction to Talking Quality to the C-Suite

    November Roundup: The post by Influential Voices blogger Dr. Suresh Gettala, Talking Quality to the C-Suite, looked at how quality professionals, certainly experts in their field, may fall short in selling quality to top management and offered his perspective and advice. Throughout the month of November, ASQ Influential Voices bloggers contributed their ideas on talking to top management about the importance of quality.  This month’s topic certainly generated some very interesting and somewhat diverse opinions.

    Pam Schodt responded that any quality discussion with the C-Suite should be tailored for that audience and provided suggestions for accomplishing that in her post Corporate Communication, 5 Keys to Success.

    Jennifer Stepniowski agreed that getting the attention of senior executives can be challenging and added even more tips in her blog, C-Suite Speak… “Quality.” She advised that quality professionals remember a call to action which needs to be clearly expressed and not just implied.

    Robert Mitchell agreed that quality professionals need to speak the senior executive’s language in his post Talking Quality with the C-Suite.  He wrote that his 34 years of experience in a global manufacturing company echoed and reinforced much of what Dr. Suresh suggested.

    Dr. Manu Vora wrote that the easiest way to connect with C-Suites is to use the cost of quality approach which he explains in his post Talking to the C-Suite About Quality.  He says this tool lets executives know where there is waste in the system and how they can reduce the Cost of Quality through continuous process improvements.

    Nicole Radziwill wrote that it’s important to let the C-Suite know that you can help them leverage their organization’s talent to achieve their goals, then continually build their trust.  In her blog, If Japan Can, Why Can’t We?  A Retrospective, she added that the key to talking quality with the C-Suite is empathy.

    Edwin Garro recalls a fascinating lecture by Deming and his startling answer to an audience member’s question in his college days.  In his blog, Deming and the C-Suite.  A Life Time Lesson for Management and Engineering Students, he writes that Deming’s definition of an effective C-Suite manager was one who understood variation, not one who forgets the voice of the customer, employee and the process itself.

    In her response and blog, AUDIT, a tool to talk with the C-Suite, Jimena Calfa agreed that talking to the C-Suite about Quality is a real challenge as senior executives often consider quality to be a waste of money instead of THE tool to increase profit.

    Tim McMahon wrote that getting executives in your company to want to support and then adopt Lean Thinking may be difficult but not impossible.  In his blog, 5 Ways to Get Management Buy-in: What’s in it for me?, he shares a list of ideas to help you convince your management to start thinking Lean.

    However, John Hunter had a different perspective in his post Making Your Case to Senior Executives.  He believes success will come from concentrating on short term financial measures while also crafting a story to make your case for long term improvements.

    Scott Rutherford also shares a different approach in his post You are not selling Quality to C-Suite. You are selling short-term relief.  While changing corporate behavior from below is challenging, he believes there are ways for quality practitioners to have influence.

    Posted in ASQ, Deming, Influential Voices, Management, Quality, Voice of the Customer, lean | 1 Comment

    ISO 9001:2015 is now available!

    In order to keep standards current and relevant for the marketplace, all ISO standards are reviewed approximately every five years whether to withdraw, revise, or confirm them.
    Some of the key updates in ISO 9001:2015 include the introduction of new terminology, restructuring some of the information, an emphasis on risk-based thinking, improved applicability for services, and increased leadership requirements.
    To help prepare and adjust your organization to the new requirements, ASQ has made available supporting products such as training programs, case studies, and articles. Access the ASQTM TV Standards Channel Video Library featuring ISO experts, the ASQ Standards e-newsletter, and ASQ Standards Central on asq.org.
    ISO 9001:2015 is available in three formats: published hard copy, PDF e-standard for immediate download, and site license for posting an electronic version to your Local Area Network or Intranet.  This document provides the fundamental concepts, principles, and vocabulary for quality management systems.  Members receive a discount—20 percent off the retail/list price—by buying the American National Standard (ANS) version through ASQ.  The ANS is identical to the ISO version.
    In March of 2012, countries from all over the world voted and began the process to revise ISO 9001.  Organizations must re-certify to ISO 9001:2015 within three years.  This means that organizations have until September 2018 to migrate their quality management system to the 2015 revision.
    Here’s what others are saying about ASQ materials on ISO 9001:2015:
    Excellent – of all the articles I have read – this series was the best!!
    –Daryl Schwald, 09-10-2015
    Agree on the inclusion and focus on risk-awareness and management of risk are hidden treasures on the road to performance excellence   even when other quality practices are mature in an organization.
    –John Watson, 09-23-2015
    Extremely informative and relevant given the anxiety regarding the changes seen.
    –j. Scott-Brown, 09-12-2015
    Want more details on the changes? Visit asq.org for a variety of resources!
    Posted in ASQ, Standards, iso 9000, quality tools | 1 Comment

    Big Data and Quality Professionals

    Based in Dallas, TX, Ponmurugarajan Thiyagarajan  (Rajan) is a business development manager for Digital Enterprise at Tata Consultancy Services and a senior member of ASQ.  He is passionate about quality, digital reimagination solutions and is a “Mac head.”

    He blogs at Quality Matters, http://pmr-blog.blogspot.com/

    Were you pleasantly surprised when the receptionist at a hotel proactively identified you with a greeting as you were about to check-in?   Did a relevant coupon pop-up in your smartphone when you were shopping at a retail store recently?  Did you receive a reply to your tweet in social media from your telephone company with an apology note for the service inconvenience caused?  If you could answer “Yes” to any of these questions, then big data is mostly that magical element that helped those companies to manage and deliver this customer experience for you.  Big data has evolved as an effective tool that can be used by companies to continuously improve aspects such as customer experience, product quality, business processes etc.

    Big data is in play when data size is huge (Volume), moves in high speeds (Velocity), comes in variety of forms (Variety) and in varied quality (Veracity) which conventional database systems cannot efficiently process.

    Analytics built over big data enable organizations to process structured and unstructured data to derive useful intelligence and provide actionable insights for end-users.  The advent of high-speed network connectivity, commodity computer hardware, and open source software such as Hadoop and Non-Hadoop (for example: NoSQL) technologies have made big data a popular technology choice.

    There are interesting use cases of big data that can help organizations that are committed to differentiate, innovate, and embrace disruption of conventional processes.  For example, wearables (watches, bands, etc.) and connected devices (Internet-of-Things glucometers, connected cars, connected homes, etc.) utilize big data technologies to collect and process huge amounts of real-time data from machines (logs), people (social), and other sensors (internet of things).   From these data, organizations get to understand customers’ 360 degree view and derive the ability to contextualize and deliver a personalized experience.

    That being said, big data is still a buzzword for many and often perceived as a misused terminology.  While some organizations have tested it to work, to a good extent, other companies are still researching it, and some are even hesitant to adopt it at all. One of the key challenges that I can think of is the accuracy and uncertainty around the quality of data that is gathered and processed.

    Lack of good data governance is a major cause for this challenge.  Also, outliers and incorrect data misdirect users during the decision-making process.  Business users demand high quality of data to derive actionable insights.   Being an emerging technology area, I believe that big data has to be further researched from a quality point of view.  I have these questions for the quality professionals:

    All of this has interesting implications for quality professionals who may become involved with big data efforts. Assurance of quality is key in such projects: data clean-up must happen in an automated fashion and reconciliation reports to be produced in real-time to track quality parameters. Thus, relevant tools needs to be built for quality assurance. It will be interesting to see how quality tools such as Plan-Do-Check-Act, the 7 quality tools (Fishbone diagram, Check sheets, Control charts, Histogram, Pareto Charts, Scatter Diagrams, Flow Charts) etc., can be customized for a big data project.

    I believe there’s a lot of possibility in this area for quality professionals, as I’ve yet to see any concrete maturity models around big data. This is a potential topic for future research.

    To conclude, let me state an example of a large corporation that probably is making the best use of big data.  It is Google that really attempts to help users, like me, to plan vacation or business travel in a modern digital way.  Right before a recent trip, Google provided relevant notifications and guidance to my smartphone on when to start to the airport, the best route to take to avoid delays, the status of the flight with gate information, hotel booking information, etc.

    Google seems to collect a lot of information from users’ mobile devices, emails, internet browsing history etc., to derive and offer useful analytics.  It is interesting to note that users, like me, are ready to slightly compromise on privacy (by opt-in) for the benefits we can enjoy.  I think this is another good example to demonstrate big data in action.

    I invite you to share further thoughts and views on big data and how quality professionals can play a vital role in this digital era.

    Posted in Customer Service, innovation, quality tools | Tagged | 8 Comments

    Facing Cultural Barriers by Leaders to Strengthen a Culture of Quality

    This is a guest post by Luciana Paulise, the founder of Biztorming Training & Consulting. She is a speaker, author, and examiner for the National Quality Award and Team Excellence Award in Argentina.  She is also a columnist for Infobae, Destino Negocio, and a blogger for ASQ Influential Voices.  You can visit Luciana’s blog at: http://www.biztorming.com.ar/en/news.

    Something was not going well at an organization we’ll call Company ABC, a small business within the automotive industry in the suburbs of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Some improvements were being made, many procedures were being followed, and employees were adopting new control processes.

    Still, turnover was high, as well as frustration with certain processes that had not shown any improvements at all—while profitability was decreasing. Managers said that line employees were the problem; they were generating issues and not solving them. On the other side, employees were convinced the problem was in the communication channel to top management.

    Even though it was a small business, communication from the bottom up was as difficult as in a larger corporation. The owners were asking for feedback on issues, but they were not providing ways to actually receiving the feedback. E-mails to leaders were not being replied to, approvals took longer than expected, and meetings were almost impossible to schedule.

    What went wrong in this organization? How could managers and employees bring issues forward as required by a quality culture? How could they strengthen the culture of quality in this environment? What were the main barriers?

    Experts says that the employees’ behavior is based on company culture, but what is organizational culture, exactly? As per Wikipedia, “Culture includes the organization’s vision, values, norms, systems, symbols, language, assumptions, beliefs, and habits.” But who determines these factors in organizations so as to define the culture?

    Usually top management defines which habits or behaviors are right by rewarding or punishing them. Therefore, company culture is modeled upon top management behavior.

    That was my “a-ha” moment. The main cultural barrier to making this company a better place was actually the top management. They thought the problem in the organization was their people, but they had not considered themselves as part of the problem. They were not “walking the talk.” And people were noticing it.

    Then I recalled Gandhi’s quote: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Leaders needed to take the first step, and needed to be trained to do so. So now the question was, how best to train them?

    Edwards Deming developed a leadership model that could be really useful here to train the top. The “System of profound knowledge” that he introduced in his last book, The New Economics, has four interrelated areas: appreciation for a system, knowledge of variation, theory of knowledge, and psychology. Managers were probably not going to get this theory easily, but an analogy could help.

    I compared the four areas with four human types of intelligence, so that leaders could understand that they needed to manage their behavior in an integral way so as to solve all the problems at the same time:

    1. Spiritual: understanding the company in a holistic way, as a system, is appreciating the business as a network of interdependent components that work together to accomplish the same aim. These components includes planning, context, competition, processes, shareholders, customers, suppliers, employees, the community, and the environment. Like an orchestra, it’s not enough to have great players. They need to play well together. Leadership needs to focus on all the parts that affect the organization and how they work. The leaders wanted their middle managers to work together, but they didn’t have common objectives, so each of them just focused on their part of the game.
    2. Intellectual: In any business there are always variations, like defects, errors, and delays. Leaders have to focus on understanding these variations. Are they caused by the system or by the employees? Usually employees are blamed for the errors, but 95% of them are really caused by the company system. Distinguishing the difference between variations by using data and statistical methods, as well as understanding its causes, is key to management’s ability to properly remove barriers to profitability. At company ABC in this case study, leaders were focused on the people, while many delays were due to late approvals, lack of the right tools, and lack of training, which the people (i.e. employees) couldn’t handle.
    3. Physical: Leaders assert opinions as facts based on hunches, theories, or beliefs, but they don’t always test those opinions against the data before making a decision. Leadership needs to focus on contrasting their ideas with real data from the operations. The automotive shop started to use daily physical scorecards on the walls to capture and communicate real performance numbers, so that leaders and operators could act on them together.
    4. Emotional: Finally, in order to get real data from the operations, leaders need to work with their people. The problem is that people perform based on how they feel. They are primarily motivated by intrinsic needs, including respect and working with others to achieve common goals, in contrast to simply being motivated by monetary reward. So leadership has to focus on understanding and respecting people so that they can all work together to solve issues. One of the managers used to push a lot on his employees because his monthly payment was based on performance. When his salary was moved to a flat rate, he started to work much better with his team, they all were motivated and happy at work.  Turnover decreased sharply.

    So my “a-ha” moment in regards to strengthening a culture of quality was that leaders need to change their behavior first if they want to change the entire company culture—and they have to do it through a systemic model considering four types of intelligence.

    What about your company? How is leadership helping to develop a quality culture?

    Posted in Deming, Strategy, Training, case for quality, culture, manufacturing, quality tools | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments