Throughout my time, I have heard so many comments regarding quality. Will mistakes happen? Of course, they will. However, how you accept and respond to these mistakes indicates your commitment to your quality program. The answer that puzzles me the most is when people demonstrate their willingness to accept subpar work. In addition, they lack the commitment to make any changes when they know the consequence of a defect isn’t detrimental to the well being of people. You have to have a mindset of Quality.
Consequences Versus Quality Mindset
We were responsible for scanning content for a publishing company. The digital images went through a QC process. We encountered some simple quality issues like having missing pages. when we inspected the images. The team would discuss the issues and determine corrective action. However, when we talked about missing pages, many team members would say “That’s just part of the process and it happens”. So, in essence, they were telling me “It’s okay to have a few missing pages” as we could always add them.
I proceeded to push this issue even further by comparing it to a defect on an airplane. The team immediately told me that I’m comparing two different things. People could die if an airplane malfunctioned. No one is going to get hurt with a missing page. Although they are correct with respect to consequences, they couldn’t be more wrong with regards to quality. How important is that missing page to a person that is doing a research paper? Granted it isn’t detrimental to their health, but I would have to assume it would be very frustrating nonetheless. Consequences are very important but so is quality to end users. When the consequences are minimal, it seems they are willing to accept mistakes instead of brainstorming how to prevent further incidences.
Schedules can Effect Quality
Then there’s another scenario when management is critical on quality until they are under pressure to get the job out. Now they are willing to accept issues that are borderline, which they would reject under normal conditions. If it was unacceptable under normal conditions then it should still be unacceptable when the schedule is critical. Or if it is acceptable when the schedule is critical then it should also be acceptable under normal conditions.
Quality is a mindset as to what you will or will not accept regardless of consequences. One must strive to do it right the first time. Striving for continuous improvement is truly the pursuit of excellence. In situations where the consequences are more severe, then multiple stages of inspection are required. Plus the appropriate documentation must be filled out. Regardless of consequences, doing it right the first time should be in the forefront. Remember, quality is a mindset.