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The Quality Management Myth

        posted by , March 26, 2013

It's natural to think that a management discipline called "quality management" would manage quality. However, this is a myth.

Quality management is about managing consistency — not quality.

The four components of quality management: quality planning, quality control, quality assurance and quality improvement are all aimed at managing consistency.

Quality vs Consistency

Quality is the value of a business output.

The quality of a business process may be measured by its productivity, costs and business results.

The quality of a product may be measured by what customers want. If customers want a car that doesn't break down then a quality car is reliable. If customers want an airline that's safe, friendly, comfortable and on-time — that's the definition of a quality airline.

Quality is the basis for all business results. However, it can be illusive. For example, a firm develops a new mobile device thinking it's what customer's want (high quality) but it fails on the market.

Quality is a subjective thing that's difficult to specify, measure and test.

Quality management avoids quality judgments altogether. Instead, quality management seeks to plan, control, assure and improve conformance to requirements, specifications, standards and processes.

Does Quality Management Improve Quality?

Quality management is a garbage-in-garbage-out discipline.

Quality management can ensure that your products meet requirements. However, if those requirements are low quality the end result is also low quality.

Generally, quality management does improve quality when processes and requirements aren't far off the mark.

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