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Quality - What's It Really All About?

I've spent a lot of time recently (far too much I fear) looking and occasionally participating in some of the LinkedIn Quality Forums. Most of these have been the ISO 9001 type forums rather than domain specific. With ISO 9001 being a generic quality standard, it’s not surprising that the participants in these forums come from all walks of life, from aerospace to telecoms, from supply chain managers
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Standard Disillusionment

I've been getting increasingly disillusioned with standards and certifications as I've grown more experienced, older and wiser. And it's not always the standards themselves, though increasingly that is also the case. It's the bodies that own and curate the standards, the organisations that administer them and the people who act as judge, jury and executioner for all things related to a standard. I
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Can Outsourcing Quality Really Be A Good Thing?

After twenty two years climbing corporate ladders I decided to go freelance back in 2006. On several occasions I have taken on a contract as a Project Quality Manager. Generally, this means working as a team member of one or more projects, helping the team, and mostly the project manager, to make sure they are following corporate standards, using good practice and generally steering them in the right
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Are You a Slave To Your Quality Management System? (Part 2)

In my previous post I proffered up some suggestions as to why many organisational Quality Management Systems end up as Quality Management Shambles. My hypothesis is that too many management systems (quality or otherwise!) are created for the wrong reasons, and generally get created without due care and attention to quality principles, systems principles or architectural and design principles. Over
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Are You a Slave To Your Quality Management System? (Part 1)

When I first started working, IT businesses tended to fall into one of two categories - those that had a Quality Management System and those that didn't. Those that did tended to have a library of management standards (literally - there would be rooms stacked full of folders with thousands of pages of policies, processes and procedures) which employees were expected to obey without question. The whole
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Unused Information Holds Many Answers

Twitter can be a wonderful source of inspiration for a blog entry especially for an old pro like myself, who has encountered so many "coachable moments" that sometimes I forget what I want to share. So, thanks to the Standish Group for the inspiration for this entry with the following Tweet: "44% of CIOs say it takes on average a day or less for their organization to reach a standard IT project decision" This
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Good Customer Service Does Not Include Obfuscation

This post is a slight departure from my normal entries and I wasn't even sure whether to put it in this blog. However, on reflection, it is quality related, or should I say, lack of quality! And it's about failing quality of both product and service. I've recently had a couple of issues with my ISP (BT Total Broadband), one relating to the TV service (BT Vision), the second relating to their e-mail
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A Message to the New Breed of Software Developers

With the advent of the "App" and their associated distribution stores (Mac, iPhone, Android etc.)  the act of developing software has never been more popular or more accessible. The opportunity to create the next "Angry Birds" in your bedroom or living room and become an overnight millionaire is clearly very enticing to many individuals. Before I became involved in Quality and Process Management,
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Maybe Process Management Isn't Enough

For the past five or six years I've been evangelising about moving from a Process Improvement culture to one of Process Management. I've written about it in these blogs, I've spoken about it at conferences, and I've tried to encourage and promote the adoption of the concepts and principles in the workplace. I generally find my arguments are well accepted:Process Improvement activities tend to be short
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8 Quality Principles that everyone should adhere to

At various times in my career to date I've held the role of Quality Manager or Quality Leader either at project, programme or organisational levels. Over the years I've developed a set of eight simple Quality Principles that are easy to understand and more importantly, easy to achieve by everyone in the organisation. In fact these aren't so much Quality Principles as common sense principles which often
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Getting Value from the Quality Department (Part 4)

In the last three posts I've been looking at some of the issues facing Quality Teams in an Application Development and Maintenance environment, and some of the ways that these teams and their organisations can get more value from quality related activities. In this final part I want to consider more problem areas, management and measurement. These two areas are crucially interwoven as we shall see
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Getting Value from the Quality Department (Part 3)

In the past couple of posts I've tried to set out my stall and ask the question about how organisations can get the best out of their quality departments. It's a double sided question, because it's primarily aimed at quality staff, namely how can you add value to the organisation through your activities? My overriding observation about quality teams that I've worked with over the years is that they
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Getting Value from the Quality Department (Part 2)

In this post I want to discuss the problem about Quality terminology and how it is chronically abused in the IT industry and in software development in particular. Somehow in software development, the term quality is now generally taken to mean testing, and worse still it is often limited to testing after the event. In other words, once the code has been written and integrated, a group of people run
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Getting Value from the Quality Department (Part 1)

It's a been a while since my last entry on this blog but I've been doing a lot of thinking in the meantime and I keep coming back to one of my favourite subjects which is the role of the Quality team in a typical software development environment, both in terms of what they think they are supposed to do and what they should actually be doing. Over the next few entries I want to have a look at the problems
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