Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Quality is what you do when no one is looking

Yesterday Meredith Bell twitted the following quote by Henry Ford: "Quality means doing it right when no one is looking". I couldn't resist re-twitting it and added "Quality is what you do when no one is looking". (Hey, I'm quoting myself, does this count as a quote?) In fact both share the same meaning and both touch what quality is really about.

Quality is what you do... 
Quality is all about assurance, not control. Quality includes processes and actions, not auditing and finger pointing. And so quality reflects the actions you take to get your job done (isn't this what a Project Manager does?), not what you do to make sure you did your job well.

...when no one is looking
I have a story to share with you. In fact, Andrew Henderson has a story to share with you. If you click the link you'll get the full details, but in short: Andrew makes pipes and he made a mistake on a particular pipe (the pipe in the picture above). He finished the pipe and simply decided to keep the pipe for himself. Please notice that no one would ever know about his mistake, he didn't have to tell the buyer about it. So this action of his brings out the this true nature of quality - when no one is looking. (And this is also somehow related to ethics but that's for another post.) What you do when no one is looking is really what you naturally do, isn't it? And that leads to the quality level you get in the end because there's no way you have someone watching what you do around the clock. And that is the lowest standard you'll ever get - or minimum quality.

So... is this what you do with your projects? What do you do when you know no one is looking? What does your team? Keep this in mind because if you do...
...Then you can be a better Project Manager.

Images from http://hendersonpipes.blogspot.com

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