What's in a Word?

To promote discussion of issues in the field of quality and ensure coverage of all responsible points of view, Quality Progress publishes articles representing conflicting and minority views. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily of ASQ or Quality Progress. Use of the ASQ logo in advertisements does not necessarily constitute endorsement of that particular product or service by ASQ.

Analysis of variance. Chain sampling plan. Groupthink. Kruskal-Wallis test. Quincunx. Value stream mapping.

Can you define all those terms? If not, you can find the meanings in the "Quality Glossary" starting on p. 43. Based on a glossary in QP several years ago, this comprehensive listing has been updated, augmented, tweaked and reviewed many times over--including by some of our volunteer quality experts--to provide what we hope is an exhaustive, indispensable resource.

We decided to update the glossary based on feedback from readers seeking a single, quick reference for looking up terms they come across in their work. While we believe we've created just that, in striving for continual improvement, we invite your input. If you think we've left out any important terms or not defined others adequately, please contact Corinne Johnson, editorial assistant, at cjohnson@asq.org. We will continue to update the glossary regularly online and republish it in the magazine every few years.

The glossary offers an interesting glance at the history of quality. Though we eliminated obsolete concepts and terms, we've retained items that may now go by a different name or have evolved--or may not be as common anymore but still hold value. You'll see, too, the names of quality pioneers, leaders and gurus who have helped shape the field into what it is today.

But what about where quality is going? At the Annual Quality Congress in May, several sessions and discussions centered around the future of quality and the changing role of the quality professional. Opinions on those topics vary widely, and continued debate and research is imperative to reach any conclusions or recommendations. (Later this year ASQ will repeat the future of quality study first conducted in 1995-96 and updated in 1999.)

One point of agreement is that part of quality's future rests with newcomers to the field. That is the basis for offering information such as the glossary, as well as the other "Quality 101" features in this issue. QP readers often tell us that even if some content in the magazine is too basic for them, they appreciate having it to share with others in their organizations who are not familiar with quality terms or concepts. (One reader calls them the "laypeople.")

Perhaps you, too, can use this issue to help educate the laypeople in your organization you wish could just get a clue about quality. (This may include  certain members of upper management.) If it does, or if you have other ideas on how we can help you accomplish that goal, please write to editor@asq.org or post your thoughts on the QP Discussion Board at www.asqnet.org. 

Debbie Phillips-Donaldson

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