Quality vs Quantity

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I recently reached out to people on LinkedIn and even Twitter some time ago and wanted to know what perceptions or for that matter misconceptions existed regarding quality.  It was a work related project initially, but I admit the conversation did get me thinking.  After a decade of working in the quality assurance industry, was my opinion skewed?

I did discover the obvious… but in an interesting way.  For people not in the quality field, the responses are generally leaning towards more tolerance of non-compliance.  For example, the majority of my students will say they would prefer to get a lot vs a little if the decision came down to quality.  They wanted more for less… and that’s usually going to boil down to a decision regarding how well the “thing” performs as expected.  Interestingly, no one mentioned that quality should ideally be expected and the trade-off shouldn’t even exist.   Not realizing that ensuring quality can actually reduce costs is still a foreign concept to many.

But, it’s a different story when you talk to people who work in and are responsible for quality.  The conversation gets passionate very quickly, but that’s not really surprising.   There’s a great group on the ASQ LinkedIn forum! I’ve recently gotten some excellent feedback on the misconceptions of quality, as well as some pretty awesome quality quotes to use in the Pro QC newsletter.

So, what was surprising about all of this was something that happened with my 5yr old… It’s left me shaking my head.

Aidan was given $100 to go on a shopping spree with my parents for his birthday.  They told him he could buy anything he wanted. After me consistently talking about the importance of demanding quality and paying a little more if necessary for something that’s going satisfy you (even if that means getting less), he ended up buying an obscene number of generic building block sets when given the opportunity.  So, instead of LEGO kits like we always get ($$$), he got Best Lock kits ($) so he’d “have lots.”  The result was there being all kinds of predictable issues with these, such as instruction errors, poor fit, etc.  He doesn’t care about these issues at all.  He doesn’t care at all…

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