Quality has been defined in the glossary since 2007 as:
A subjective term for which each person or sector has its own definition. In technical usage, quality can have two meanings: 1) the characteristic of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs; 2) a product or service free of deficiencies. According to Jospeh Juran, quality means “Fitness for use.” According to Philip Crosby, it means “conformance to requirements.”
What aspects of this definition work? What is it missing? Why is the definition of quality so difficult to pinpoint? Is it possible to achieve one definition?
I will share below two examples for each of Product Quality and Service Quality. I believe that the definition of Quality should include a determination of the appropriate scope and interactions from complementary and conflicting characteristics. There should be a prioritization of trade-offs, based on the expectations for purpose and use. This configuration is constantly changing due to the emerging needs and desires of customers and stakeholders, and the prospect of innovations and breakthroughs that generate new technologies and capabilities.
One way to measure Quality is in relation to deviation from the intended outcome or target. This deviation could be represented as a physical defect, a service level not achieved, or missing functionality or attributes. It should also refine the expectations to prioritize essential characteristics from discretionary attributes. The impact and extent of the potential or actual deviation should be an input to the work required to design, validate, verify, monitor, and sustain the quality characteristics within the product or service.
Product Quality (based on ISO 25010 Product Quality Requirements) indicating effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction.
- Functional stability
- Performance efficiency
I see a need to tie Quality to economics. (CoQ). Quality is what our customer needs and expects from us as a organization. Some customers consider higher quality will cost them more. (for the record, I have disagreed with the perception). Yes, in a short run, it may cost more but not on long run. Since many product's life cycle has shrunk to less than 3 years in this day of constant innovation, there may be a need to tie Economics to Quality and the definition should reflect that.
Appreciate your thoughts.
Quality is actually a subset of Economics and Prospect Theory. For example, the expected costs from a 5% risk of product failure and recall are greater than the planned costs of incorporating more stringent reviews and inspections within product development prior to release. This is a trade-off that not only is measured in dollar value, but psychologically with peace-of-mind.
This is also why Tier 1 vendors to major companies are required to operate as extensions of their client. This adds to the transaction costs, but offers additional peace-of-mind from the alignment and synergy created from a more strategic partnership.