The Quality Gap: Why Being On-Time Isn’t Enough

January 19, 2010
51 Views

In which Jill advocates behavior changes, starting at the top. But not for you. No, you’re fine. Just for other people.

The biggest problem in business today is that everything is date-driven and not quality-driven.

There, I’ve said it. And a few dozen of my past and current clients are now sidling up to their laptops to shoot me an e-mail asking me if this blog is about them. (The answer is Yes It Is And You Know Who You Are.) Seriously, this is a problem everywhere, yet despite the wholesale crises it precipitates it’s actually getting worse.The root cause of this problem is the old bugaboo of perception. “Progress” is usually measured by speed-of-delivery, not fitness-for-purpose or conformance to requirements or streamlined processes or…



In which Jill advocates behavior changes, starting at the top. But not for you. No, you’re fine. Just for other people.

BiggestLoserLogo

The biggest problem in business today is that everything is date-driven and not quality-driven.

There, I’ve said it. And a few dozen of my past and current clients are now sidling up to their laptops to shoot me an e-mail asking me if this blog is about them. (The answer is Yes It Is And You Know Who You Are.) Seriously, this is a problem everywhere, yet despite the wholesale crises it precipitates it’s actually getting worse.The root cause of this problem is the old bugaboo of perception. “Progress” is usually measured by speed-of-delivery, not fitness-for-purpose or conformance to requirements or streamlined processes or any of those other quality maxims. We’ve all heard a variation of the following:

“Just [complete the work] so I can get it into my status report for this [week/month/year].”

So that project manager’s boss is now satisfied that the team is getting things done instead of abusing flex time or work-from-home policies. Meantime the campaign went to a saturated segment. Product prices no longer match across divisions. Account managers are confused about territory assignments and are cannibalizing sales. And the Feds have just left a message for your CFO.

You have to name it to claim it. (I learned this from watching The Biggest Loser the other night.) So herewith, the five main reasons for this phenomenon:

1: The measurement conversation isn’t baked into project initiation. In our BI, MDM, and data governance projects we make sure that this is part of the requirements phase. But practitioners aren’t the only people who need to have this conversation. Business executives and managers should be proactive about their quality criteria during ideation or (at the latest) in the business case. This not only elucidates delivery steps, it makes scoping so much easier.

2: The “effort delusion”, that anachronistic WASP-y assumption that many people working hard will yield positive results. There’s a monkeys-on-an-island analogy here that I’ll refrain from making. But as many before me have aptly observed working hard simply isn’t enough.

3: No one closes the loop. Imagine how many companies have invested in quality programs, data quality automation, business analysis skills, TQM and SixSigma training and other improvements yet continue to fail to reconcile the project’s original objectives from its delivered outcome. Instead, projects endure scope creep or are delivered as a shadow of their original vision. Closing the loop between original vision and ultimate deliverable is a learned and practiced behavior. Instead, mediocre projects drive a flurry of fix-and-maintain activities that would have been unnecessary had they been delivered right the first time, and ultimately far more costly.

4: Failure to define realistic delivery increments. This is Project Management 101. Or is it? The problem here is that the people doing the scoping are often not those on the hook to deliver the goods. I’ve seen project managers idling in the doorways asking programmers to rattle off their tasks, then randomly assigning time-to-completion. It doesn’t work that way. Or it shouldn’t.

5: The economic climate has made people paranoid. There, I’ve said it. And a few dozen of my past and current clients…oh, nevermind. You’ve seen it yourself. People go into delivery hyperdrive and start producing at all costs. (“Just load the data into the database—we’ll worry about whether it’s usable later.”) Worse, they cover their collective asses while spinning stories of their productivity, backing into post-facto project plans and pointing fingers when people ask questions.

Maybe if we understand the root causes, we can fix the problem. (Thanks for that one too, Bob and Jillian!)  Or maybe we’ll just stay on the couch and keep chomping away, occasionally groping for the remote control so we can get something different just by pressing a button.

Link to original post

You may be interested

5 Effective Strategies for Boosting IoT Security
Internet of Things
79 shares1,127 views
Internet of Things
79 shares1,127 views

5 Effective Strategies for Boosting IoT Security

Ryan Kh - July 25, 2017

With the emergence of IoT devices that are being rolled out from time to time, the serious IoT security issues…

The Future of Healthcare and Big Pharma is in Big Data Analytics
Analytics
418 views
Analytics
418 views

The Future of Healthcare and Big Pharma is in Big Data Analytics

riteshmehta - July 25, 2017

The healthcare industry recognizes that Big Data as and opportunity and a challenge for the whole sector. Nevertheless, systems and…

How Companies Are Rethinking Promotional Materials In Light Of Big Data
Big Data
108 shares1,735 views
Big Data
108 shares1,735 views

How Companies Are Rethinking Promotional Materials In Light Of Big Data

Larry Alton - July 25, 2017

Most people have a pile of promotional items sitting around their homes, from water bottles and t-shirts to calendars and…