Quality professionals obsess about processes. We are so focused on processes that we sometimes forget that people who aren’t directly involved in quality don’t understand the importance of them. When we see process failure or processes that don’t make sense, they stick out like sore thumbs. Everything that gets done is the result of some sort of a process. There are, however, poorly designed processes, poorly implemented processes, inefficient processes. . . you get the idea.
I recently received a data set consisting of the number of major hurricanes in the North Atlantic from 1940 to 2007. (Major hurricanes are those that reach Category 3 status or higher at some point during their existence.)
As some of you know, quality “speak” and concepts have been known to bleed into my everyday life. This is not uncommon for quality professionals. The only difference between some of us and the rest of you is that many of you are still in denial. You won’t admit to the occasional slip of the quality tongue (e.g., “I need to see the objective evidence that you’ve done your homework.”)
Steve McDowell, CEO of TechDyno, looked quizzically at the smiling young woman standing at the front of the room. Lorraine Whitcombe finished her presentation by enthusiastically declaring, “That’s how my group will ‘Go for the O!’” That’s when Steve’s expression changed from interested to something resembling a layman at a particle physics convention.
If you’ve been paying attention, it’s probably no surprise to many of you that magazines and newspapers are struggling to survive. Daily newspapers are getting smaller and smaller; magazines are getting thinner and thinner. This issue of Quality Digest is the smallest we’ve ever produced. The long-predicted “end of print” seems to have finally materialized. The recession, the high price of fuel last year, and the popularity of the internet have all radically changed the balance sheet for traditional print media.
Given all the campaigning by Barack Obama and John McCain, including the many promises they’re making that I believe won’t be kept, I recall my own predictions and visionary assurances a decade ago concerning the quality profession in the 21st century. When I was asked during the mid-1990s, “How do you see the quality profession changing to meet the needs of the 21st century?”, this is how I responded:
On several occasions while conducting a third-party surveillance audit, I’ve gotten the following query--or a variation thereof: “One of our customers called us last week and wants to come in to do an audit in three weeks. Why can’t they just accept the results of the audit that you’re doing? After all, they’re auditing us to the same requirements. Isn’t registration to ISO 9001 supposed to stop these multiple customer audits?”