April 6, 2008

Emerging Role of Quality Professionals...

Year 1987 is a significantly important date in the history of Quality. This is the year where multiple quality systems standards and business excellence model were published across the globe. ISO 9000 / Software CMM moved the Quality from discrete / transaction oriented to continuous / process driven. There were lots of approaches defined and developed prior to this era, but these approaches are easier to understand, adopt and deploy. It has also laid the foundation for process excellence. As we understand, today’s Quality position is –
  • Customer defines requirements
  • Quality is all about satisfying customer’s stated and implied requirements consistently
  • Quality also defines the economically viable approach to meet those requirements
If one looks in macro terms, customer and service provider are both part of the one single eco system, which is governed by the industrial & economic environment. Based on bargaining power of different entities in the environment, organization needs to continuously evolve it self. Role of Quality is to ensure that organization remains focused on its purpose and continuously reinvents itself to meet the demands of eco-system. Given this context role of quality professional merely for monitoring and control is completely inadequate. In traditional ways role of quality was equated as “police-man” or “referee in a foot-ball game”. To put it into right perspective role of quality is like a “coach” not as “umpire” in a cricket match. The visible part of “coach” role is about providing guidance, but its just one part of story. Here is an attempt to describe changing role of quality with the example of the coach.
  • Coach is “involved” in the game and takes “bottom-line” for results
  • Coach needs to continuously assess the progress towards goals and provide feedback to the team
  • Coach’s need to focus on multiple stakeholders’ objectives – right from "play for country’s pride" and team’s success.
  • Coach may raise issues against the captain, if he is not focused on team’s success
  • Even the best-in-class players require coach’s guidance & support
Though we can relate with these aspects from Quality Team in current context, there are also few more behavioural traits that Quality Professional need to develop i.e. Being proactive, Commitment, Continuous learning, Humility, Integrity, Team-work. Quality is all about “Enabling Excellence through Partnership”, and being PARTNER mean “Perseverance, Actions, Reaching-out, Team-work & Nurturing for Excellence & Results”

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