Quality Proverbs
Joe Wojniak
90 Posts
I don't know if you're like me, but I often remember short sayings better than complicated details.  I can look up the details when they are needed, but often I only need to remember the concept to influence a decision or respond to a peer. 

     An example of using proverbs for learning are the Go Proverbs Illustrated by Kensaku Segoe.  Here's an example from the book of a proverb      for Go: The enemy's key play is my own key play. 

     The Bible also has a book of Proverbs: Proverbs 6:6-8 ... people should learn a lesson from the way ants live.  They have no leader, chief, or       ruler, but they store up their food during the summer, getting ready for winter. 

There have been short sayings about Quality that have stuck with me and I continue to remember and apply.

  - Say what you do and Do what you say. 
  - In Quality, we are trying to work ourselves out of a job.
  - If it's not documented, it didn't happen.
  - Quality advocates for the Customer.
  - I trust in God, all others bring Data.

What's your favorite Quality saying?  (Post a reply)
57 Replies
Amanda Foster
667 Posts
We are what we continually do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
-attributed to Aristotle
Common sense isn't common.  I use this when someone is arguing that a necessary process step doesn't need to be documented because it's "obvious."
Being wrong feels exactly like being right.  (until you realize otherwise)  Paraprased from Kathryn Schulz' TEDtalk "On Being Wrong".  I use it a lot when people jump to corrective action without doing root cause analysis first.
The plans of the diligent lead to profit
as surely as haste leads to poverty.
-Proverbs 21:5
Joe Wojniak
90 Posts

Every civilization depends upon the quality of the individuals it produces.

FRANK HERBERT, Children of Dune

(I couldn't resist posting this quote, the Dune series are among my favorite books to read.  Especially the first 3 books- Dune, Dune Messiah, Children of Dune)

"Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth"
Mike Tyson- American Pugilist
Amanda Foster
667 Posts
Without changing our patterns of thought, we will not be able to solve the problems that we created with our current patterns of thought.
-Albert Einstein
"If you think you have idiot-proofed something, they will find a better idiot."
-System Administrator (Anon)
Amanda Foster
667 Posts
John Chivers‍ that's a good one! I may use it on my kids.
Here are two of mine:

"Better late than wrong." - I would say this in response to people who wanted to release known non-conforming product to meet a deadline.

"Never time to do it right; always time to do it over." - One of my inspectors used to say this all the time in response to how much rework we had to do because we knowingly shipped bad product to meet deadlines only to have it shipped back for rework...argh!

And one I've seen at a few different places:  "A mistake on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

And I love all the other ones posted!
Amanda Foster
667 Posts
A bad workman blames his tools
It is not proper a proverb, but I found quite funny and revealing back at the time.
In 2010 in Croatia, my welding inspector had a habit: each time I asked him "Is everything OK at site?", he always replied "Yes, yes, ....maybe!", while having an expression of uncertainty and shrugging.
Leaving out of the picture the hypothesis he himself didn't know sometimes, it was a way of saying that suggested me how critical the control of operations is. Even when you think everything is OK, still something may go wrong. And, at site, that happens frequently.
Work hard in silence let success make the noise
Amanda Foster
667 Posts
When quality is easy, everybody does it.
Milk the cow, but do not pull off the udder - Greek proverb
“In any bureaucracy, the people devoted to the benefit of the bureaucracy itself always get in control, and those dedicated to the goals the bureaucracy is supposed to accomplish have less and less influence, and sometimes are eliminated entirely.[Pournelle's law of Bureaucracy]” 
― Jerry Pournelle
Amanda Foster
667 Posts
This is a great topic. I am determined to keep it going!
The plural of anecdote is not data.
Harry Rowe
91 Posts
A quote frequently attributed to Henry Ford (but likely inaccurately):
"If I had asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said, 'Faster horses.'"

Harry Rowe
Amanda Foster
667 Posts
Resurrecting another great thread from the past!

"The thing you set your mind on is the thing you ultimately become." - Nathaniel Hawthorne
Joe Wojniak
90 Posts
Very true!  I also enjoyed reading "Thoughts are Things" in the book "Think and Grow Rich" by Napoleon Hill.