September Roundup: “Fast” Quality vs. “Slow” Quality

The product development process moves fast these days—and so should quality. Or should it? I posed this question to ASQ’s Influential Voices bloggers in September. Can quality maintain its integrity in the face ever-increasing pressure to move fast? The responses are below.

Before you delve deeper, I’d like to thank blogger Chris Hermenitt, who left Influential Voices due to other commitments, for his contributions. Chris was a thoughtful and committed blogger ever since the program started in 2010. We wish you the best, Chris.

Can Quality Keep Up? “Quality is an ever-evolving perception by the customer of the value provided by a product. It is not a static perception that never changes,” says Tim McMahon. John Hunter encourages us to build systems that allow for quicker actions.

Jimena Calfa shares a white paper on quality management and the speed of qualityLongtime ASQ member Manu Vora brings ASQ itself into the discussion. For example, Manu notes that it now takes a week to receive the results of ASQ certification exams, where it used to take 12 weeks in the 1980s.

Tools and Strategies: Nicole Radziwill writes about dynamic capabilities, which are defined as the skills, attitudes, and capacities within an organization to adapt existing operations to new conditions in the competitive environment. Rajan Thiyagarajan writes about the role of effective information management in fast quality. Anshuman Tiwari introduces us to the “2-4-12” formula, which refers to the number of weeks we have to make improvement in various circumstances. Daniel Zrymiak writes about rapid delivery.

John Priebe brings the marketing term “change agent” to the discussion, encouraging us to remove self-imposed limits that prevent us from changing with the times.  Dr. Lotto Lai argues that innovation is the way to balance quality and speed. Nergis Soylemez believes that continuous improvement is key to faster quality with integrity, and Cesar Diaz Guevara gives another nod to both innovation and continuous improvement.

Not So Fast: Instead of going faster, we should be working on our focus, writes Deborah Mackin. Guy Wallace reminds us that sometimes “you have to go slow to go fast.” Consider the purpose of pushing the speed limit, writes Bob Mitchell. What are we trying to accomplish? Speed is important, but discipline and integrity are even more so, writes Scott Rutherford.

Jennifer Stepniowski wonders if we’re using too many quality tools, hindering our progress. Dr. Robert Burney wonders if we always need to go fast.  What’s the purpose? Michael Noble writes that quick quality is not a desirable goal, especially given the absence of leadership. And Don Brecken reminds us that we sometimes must toe that fine line between quality and “fast quality.”

On a Different Note: Kerrie Anne Christian weaves corporate social responsibility, football in Australia, and quality into her September post.

Finally, Jimena Calfa also reminds us that World Quality Month is coming up in November.  It’s certainly not too early to start planning or celebrating. I encourage you to take a look at a resources like posters, news releases, and more, and a calendar where you can submit quality-themed events in your organization and community, or ASQ section, division, or local member community.

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