Online Edition - April 2000
Issue Highlight - Hard
Measures for Human Values
Looking For Adventure
Healing Blue Cross And Blue Shield
Applying The Magic Of Disney
When Teams Are Destructive
Peter Block Column
Views for a Change
Diary of a Shutdown
Views for a
--1. Management creates over 80 percent of the problems. Management is also the only one who can correct these problems.
-- 2. Management does not understand the root cause of the quality problem or they would have already corrected it.
--Keeping these truths in mind, you need to first collect relevant data to determine the magnitude and the symptoms of your quality problem. It is very important to quickly define if the quality problem is contained within the organization or if it has slipped out to your customer.
--Once you have this data in hand, roughly estimate what poor quality is costing your organization. This does not have to be an exact figure-an estimate will do. For example:
Typical support group costs would be:
--This data collection process should be time-boxed-in, so that you don't get into too much detail. Two weeks should be adequate.
--Now that you have some information in hand, it's time to go to the next phase. In this phase, you should hold individual meetings with each member of the executive committee to get their perceptions on what needs to be changed to improve quality. I would then meet with three different segments of the workforce in focus groups.
--These focus groups should be divided into middle management, first-line managers and employees. With each focus group, you should ask them to define their view of the quality problems that are facing the organization, and what should be done to correct them.
--Once you have completed the focus group meetings, it's time to analyze the data and define what the problems are and what actions need to be taken from each of the work segments. Each segment will have important inputs to correct your quality problem. I am often amazed at the varying views and actions that are required based upon where one fits into the organization.
--Based upon this analysis, you should prepare a report that summarizes the input provided from each of the segments and then present it to each segment. It is extremely important to provide feedback not just to the executive team, but to all segments of your organization.
--This feedback will help everyone focus on the quality problem and provide additional suggestions on what should be done to correct the problem.
--With this data in hand, you should now be able to prepare a project plan, budget and value proposition that should be approved by the executive team. If they will not approve a budget for the quality improvement process, don't go forward with it, because it will fail without this minimum level of executive support.