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Quality Glossary - D


Data: A set of collected facts. There are two basic kinds of numerical data: measured or variable data, such as “16 ounces,” “4 miles” and “0.75 inches;” and counted or attribute data, such as “162 defects.”

D chart: See “demerit chart.”

Decision matrix: A matrix teams use to evaluate problems or possible solutions. For example, a team might draw a matrix to evaluate possible solutions, listing them in the far left vertical column. Next, the team selects criteria to rate the possible solutions, writing them across the top row. Then, each possible solution is rated on a scale of 1 to 5 for each criterion, and the rating is recorded in the corresponding grid. Finally, the ratings of all the criteria for each possible solution are added to determine its total score. The total score is then used to help decide which solution deserves the most attention.

Defect: A product’s or service’s nonfulfillment of an intended requirement or reasonable expectation for use, including safety considerations. There are four classes of defects: class 1, very serious, leads directly to severe injury or catastrophic economic loss; class 2, serious, leads directly to significant injury or significant economic loss; class 3, major, is related to major problems with respect to intended normal or reasonably foreseeable use; and class 4, minor, is related to minor problems with respect to intended normal or reasonably foreseeable use. Also see “blemish,” “imperfection” and “nonconformity.”

Defective: A defective unit; a unit of product that contains one or more defects with respect to the quality characteristic(s) under consideration.

Delighter: A feature of a product or service that a customer does not expect to receive but that gives pleasure to the customer when received. Also called an “exciter.”

Demerit chart: A control chart for evaluating a process in terms of a demerit (or quality score); in other words, a weighted sum of counts of various classified nonconformities.

Deming cycle: Another term for the plan-do-study-act cycle. Walter Shewhart created it (calling it the plan-do-check-act cycle), but W. Edwards Deming popularized it, calling it plan-do-studyact. Also see “plan-do-check-act cycle.

Dependability: The degree to which a product is operable and capable of performing its required function at any randomly chosen time during its specified operating time, provided that the product is available at the start of that period. (Nonoperation related influences are not included.) Dependability can be expressed by the ratio: time available divided by (time available + time required).

Deployment: Dispersion, dissemination, broadcasting or spreading communication throughout an organization, downward and laterally. Also see “cascading.”

Design of experiments (DoE): A branch of applied statistics dealing with planning, conducting, analyzing and interpreting controlled tests to evaluate the factors that control the value of a parameter or group of parameters. Design for Six Sigma (DFSS): See “DMADV.”

Deviation: In numerical data sets, the difference or distance of an individual observation or data value from the center point (often the mean) of the set distribution.

Diagnosis: The activity of discovering the cause(s) of quality deficiencies; the process of investigating symptoms, collecting and analyzing data, and conducting experiments to test theories to determine the root cause(s) of deficiencies.

Diagnostic journey and remedial journey: A two-phase investigation used by teams to solve chronic quality problems. In the first phase, the diagnostic journey, the team journeys from the symptom of a chronic problem to its cause. In the second phase, the remedial journey, the team journeys from the cause to its remedy

DMADV: A data driven quality strategy for designing products and processes, it is an integral part of a Six Sigma quality initiative. It consists of five interconnected phases: define, measure, analyze, design and verify.

DMAIC: A data driven quality strategy for improving processes and an integral part of a Six Sigma quality initiative. DMAIC is an acronym for define, measure, analyze, improve and control.

Dodge-Romig sampling plans: Plans for acceptance sampling developed by Harold F. Dodge and Harry G. Romig. Four sets of tables were published in 1940: single sampling lot tolerance tables, double sampling lot tolerance tables, single sampling average outgoing quality limit tables and double sampling average outgoing quality limit tables.

Driving forces: Forces that tend to change a situation in desirable ways.