About This Blog

A QualitEvolution is intended to capture positions and experiences as a participant in the evolution of the Quality profession into the 21st century. From its origins as the brainchild of Corporate Industrial Statisticians, our profession has transformed and evolved to incorporate and adapt to the demands and expectations of our modern existence.

The scope of the subject matter within A QualitEvolution extends to the furthest ranges of quality, business transformation, management science, and quality issues especially pertinent to the members of ASQ in Canada.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Evolution - Lean Six Sigma examples

There is a discussion as to whether the future of Quality will progress along an Evolutionary or Revolutionary path.  This will show how Quality has evolved from its origins to is present form.

One observation I would like to share is the convergence of practices into a single collection of knowledge.  ASQ has compiled a QBok (Quality Body of Knowledge) from which practitioners can draw and apply their expertise to help companies achieve new levels of performance, quality, cost, delivery, and assurance.  This convergence is evident in the Lean Six Sigma domain.

In the recent (2009) ASQ Press publication, The Public Health Quality Improvement Handbook by Ron Bialek, Grace Duffy, and John Moran, there is an excellent visual display showing how what we call Lean Six Sigma evolved from various influences.

This document reflects a convergence of practices into a common category.  This viewpoint is corroborated in similar peer-reviewed publications.

Juran is cited as one of the early influences of the Quality profession.  The prolific and pertinent contributions from Juran have been a cornerstone of our profession, and predated the concepts of both Lean and Six Sigma. The passage below is from page 748 of Juran’s Quality Handbook, 6th Edition, and expresses the high-level distinctions between what we term as Lean and Six Sigma. This reference aligns with the diagram above.

Lean Six Sigma is a combination of both Lean and Six Sigma quality approaches.  The underlying tenet of the Lean approach is efficiency, whereas that of Six Sigma is effectiveness.  The integration of the two approaches provides a balanced approach to quality.  By applying the Lean tools, the processes become stable, constraints and costs to operations are reduced, and the speed is optimized.  Six sigma tools can then be applied to identify key variables in the process, establishing operating ranges, and implement control methods to ensure the problems are corrected.

The Public Health Quality Improvement Handbook elaborates on the distinctions between Lean and Six Sigma, both in text and visually.  

The "House of Lean" captures the key practices and characteristics of Lean, and also establishes the scope and limitations of Lean as a singular approach.  For overall improvement, Lean is not the sole solution, but one of several practices recommended by the authors.

More complex improvement initiative require the thoughtful and deliberate diagnostic approaches reflective of a Six Sigma project, as shown in the image of the Define-Measure-Analyze-Improve-Control cycle.  One particular question within the Improve category (What specific activities are necessary to meet the project's goals) channel directly into the proven, tactical Lean techniques and practices.  In this way, Six Sigma and Lean are not conflicting, but complementary and synergistic activities that when conjoined, enhance and expand their respective effectiveness.

By having a unified Body of Knowledge, the respective advantages of Lean and Six Sigma can be combined. Rather than mutually exclusive "either/or" scenarios, the Quality practitioner can select and apply the most appropriate and relevant practices to fit the situation and serve the best interests of the client or organization.  Many of the practices listed in the table above are common (i.e. failure mode and effects analysis, run charts, five whys method) or use common methods (i.e. brainstorming, kaizen).   

If this is reflective of the overall Quality profession, then it shows that over time, Quality will continue to evolve to incorporate more complementary practices, thus becoming more robust, relevant, and capable of serving our constituents.  

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What's Your ASQ Loyalty Capital?

Last month I had the eminent privilege of addressing the quality community with a guest posting on the illustrious View from the Q blog.  With such a broad global audience, I felt that my opportunity would be best served by advising the ASQ Membership and professional community at large on how to get the most from their ASQ membership.

I believe that optimal value can be realized by actively participating in the programs and benefits available to ASQ Members, and by supplementing these with ongoing tracking for recertification and awards (i.e. ASQ Fellow Membership, ASQ Medals).  From this perspective, I view ASQ as a professional loyalty program.  I can personally testify that upon achieving certain levels of achievement and advancement, more privileges and opportunities are available within ASQ.  Through this forum, I aspire to create awareness of and draw attention to some valuable elements of ASQ by which the optimal value for membership can be obtained.

What’s Your Loyalty Capital?

Having been a member of ASQ for approximately 18 years, I believe that the aggregated benefits and privileges can be characterized as a tangible asset, to which I will assign the label of Loyalty Capital.  By clearly understanding the value, the decision to renew and sustain continued membership can be tracked and calculated objectively.  The concept of Loyalty Capital can be generically applied to other organizations or pursuits, where the value is defined and tailored on a personal level. 

At a WCQI focus group session in 2012, I was part of a group of international ASQ members tasked to calculate the relative Return on Investment by comparing the costs of my membership relative to the aggregated benefits.  What most people don’t realize is that the benefits are compounded by years of experience and exposure.  The interdependency and interconnectivity between the individual member and the available resources and expertise within ASQ provide a positive multiplier.  The compounded benefits of membership can take years to accumulate but can be continually harvested for substantially longer.  This is why I refer to this asset as Loyalty Capital.

Not every organization is appropriate, and not every member is suitable for a particular organization.  Only when there is alignment of personal and organizational principles, can the foundation of a long-term membership relationship be established.  ASQ aligns with my own attributes in the following ways:
·         Professional: ASQ is oriented for academic and vocational growth in the Quality profession.
·         Participatory: ASQ welcomes and encourages its members to have involvement and influence
·         Provocative: ASQ explores issues and takes positions reflective of quality ideals.
·         Prudent: ASQ is deliberate and measured and conscientious of personal and organizational budgets
·         Passionate: ASQ supports energetic and enthusiastic pursuits for thought leadership and innovation.
·         Persistent: ASQ provides continuity and constant support across industries, generations, and nations.

Build Your Personal ASQ Loyalty Capital

It is not enough to simply join an organization or subscription to realize benefits.  The initial burden is placed upon the member to make a reasonable “bona fide” effort.  Just as an airline or hotel loyalty program would require you to actually be a passenger or hotel guest, an association or society places certain expectations.  For a professional association like ASQ, some effective ways to build loyalty are summarized below:
·         Get connected on multiple outlets for Social Media. Many of the programs within ASQ are becoming increasingly dynamic and dependent upon having ASQ membership reachable through channels including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google, and other online community groups, particularly the one hosted from the society website at www.asq.org.
·         Present yourself as a respectful professional.  This applied to both personal and online presences.  When attending a meeting, be appropriately attired and groomed.  Conduct yourself in a positive and pleasant manner.  Respectful behavior includes timely arrivals, minimal disruption, and polite indulgence of programs and speakers.  Networking is intended for exchanges, not high pressure sales pitches. 
·         Explore areas of interest.  There is no shortage of diversity within ASQ, which spans many countries, industries, and levels of professional and academic accomplishment.  I personally believe that the Quality profession should be sufficiently versatile and portable to be equally effective across multiple domains.
·         Step up into new challenges.  ASQ presents many opportunities to advance and grow at various scopes within communities (e.g. local, regional, virtual), within roles (e.g. auditor, metrologist), within industries (e.g. automotive, software), or in areas of broader scope.  In addition to participating as an attendee or passive reader, ASQ offers the following experiences to its members:
o   Organize: Assist with the setup and operation of programs or initiatives.
o   Facilitate: Lead the interaction or connection between ASQ and its constituencies, stakeholders, or audiences.
o   Research: Investigate and explore successful approaches applied within the Quality profession.
o   Write: Prepare and submit compositions for publication.
o   Speak: Participate as a panelist, event speaker, or facility “tour guide” to enlighten other members.
o   Mentor: Share insights from experiences to benefit others
o   Instruct: Serve as a clinical instructor within meetings, at training sessions, or formal education programs.
·         Pursue certification and professional experience.  This member benefit provides exceptional value for money, and allows the time spent within ASQ to be effectively leveraged to the benefit of your career.  As a personal example, I leveraged the combination of an ASQ Certified Software Quality Engineer peer recognition and ASQ presentation experience to enable eleven years of recurring Software Quality teaching engagements at three post-secondary institutions in my vicinity, realizing a substantial return on investment for professional and financial gains.

Retain The Value of ASQ Loyalty Capital

Imagine the loyal customer who has faithfully flown or booked rooms with the same organization, only to miss out on benefits they had earned.  The same principle can be applied to ASQ.  By having the mentality of a loyalty program, I have included suggestions that should be vigilantly applied to protect and capitalize on the beneficial contributions already made.

·         Hold Your Gains.  To avoid having your work vanished or eliminated through neglect, it is important that attention is placed upon certain tasks which prevent potential difficulties and frustrations.
o   Remain in Good Standing.  By paying and renewing membership fees in a timely manner, interruptions are avoided.  While continuous membership is an acceptable norm, a disrupted or intermittent record may create restrictions or lost opportunities for certain benefits.
o   Track your achievements and accomplishments as they occur.  This is an easier approach and permits recording with a maximum of accuracy and thoroughness.  Delaying the tracking may cause important accomplishments to be forgotten and not properly credited.
o   Complete your recertification.  Unless you take great pleasure in writing 4 hour multiple-choice exams on a frequent basis, the steps to recertification will permit you to retain your professional standing by submitting your validated records of professional involvement without requiring repeated testing.
·         Quick Wins. Having made a “bona fide” effort as a member, there are certain practices and benefits from which a member can realize greater gains.  The collective benefits from these Quick Wins far outweigh the level of effort needed to complete, making them essential for the savvy and opportunistic member.
o   Upgrade to Senior Membership. This member level is available after ASQ members have attained or achieved levels of experience and fulfillment in particular areas (i.e. certification, career level, duration of membership).  While the annual membership rate has a higher price than that of the regular member, the immediate financial benefit can be realized from the free journal, the value of which exceeds the incremental membership cost.  ASQ Senior Members also have clearance to take on additional levels of responsibility and influence within ASQ.
o   Membership Pricing and “Early-Bird Specials. The incremental price difference between members and non-members is often (deliberately) set to match or exceed the cost of membership.  For a frequent conference attendee or patron of the ASQ Press book catalogue, the member discounts can justify the annual cost of membership consistently.
o   Volunteer benefits Those ASQ members who devote their time as reviewers, authors, presenters, moderators, curriculum developers, or intellectual property contributors may be eligible for additional rewards which can include gifts, discounts on ASQ merchandise, honoraria, subsidized or complimentary conference registration, and recognition events.

Realize Long-Term Dividends of ASQ Loyalty Capital

Having been a member of ASQ for nearly two decades, I can attest to the continuity and constant connectivity which has sustained multiple roles and employers.  In addition to the explicit incentives which include the relevant and readable Quality Progress subscription and the pertinent Monthly “bundles”, there are implicit professional benefits which I have been fortunate enough to receive directly and observe being enjoyed by others.

·         Access to career opportunities.  This can range from the frequent, high profile notifications to informal insider tips on “hidden jobs” which are revealed through personal contacts. 
·         Growth of expertise.  The exposure to the subject material over time will permit a long-term member to expand their own personal competency and proficiency.  This will have a beneficial effect on the reputation and prestige of the member, who will be more frequently consulted and sought for opinions and recommendations.
·         Conference and event hospitality and fellowship.  It is a delightful experience to be met in a strange location and unfamiliar hotel by cordial and supportive people with common interests.  This is most evident at the annual World Conference on Quality and Improvement.  I can honestly attest that during my time in Dallas at WCQI 2014 I never dined alone during the four days but was always received and welcomed at ASQ society or division events and hospitality suites.
·         Unlimited knowledge base.  This dividend combines the wealth of intellectual property retained through collections of publications, as well as the exposure to global expertise from experienced and successful practitioners, academics, and authors. 

Rise Above to Breakthrough Levels of ASQ Loyalty Capital

If an ASQ member is inclined to limit themselves to enjoying membership discounts, conference hospitality, and recertification renewals, they will have realized substantial value in their membership, and their loyalty will have been rewarded many times over.  However for the exceptionally savvy and opportunistic among us, ASQ provides a top echelon of member experience, where ASQ Loyalty Capital can be compounded and optimized.  This can be described as the “Good to Great” chasm.  I will offer some suggestions which I have used to cross this “chasm” and realize a very privileged experience within ASQ.

·         Explore New Peer Groups.  This requires members to initiate and engage people outside of their comfort zones and natural coterie.  When I first joined ASQ my focus was on ISO 9001 registration for a manufacturing company.  ASQ has created and supported resources to facilitate the operations of different peer groups, termed as “ASQ Communities”.  By diversifying my peer groups, I expanded my career scope and reach to include software, services, consulting, education, and social responsibility. 
·         Cultivate Mentor/Protégé Relationships.  It is essential to have relationships in both direction whereby one is always learning from experienced elders while concurrently indulging the next generation of practitioners with experience and insight.  Professional “career coaches” or “executive coaches” command hundreds of dollars per hour, and thousands per engagement.  In contrast, a professional mentorship relationship conducted within the context of ASQ can be arranged over a conveniently arranged meal or cup of coffee,
·         Pursue Senior Leadership and Governance.  As a participatory organization, ASQ provides those willing to make the necessary time and travel commitments with opportunities for selection into roles of authority and influence.  This provides exceptional opportunities to demonstrate leadership and interact with corporate and government leaders.
·         Position For Higher Honors.  This is a category which a limited number of ASQ members are fortunate enough to attain. Ranging from the ASQ Fellow Membership and Honorary Membership grades to the array of ASQ Awards, these recognitions profile outstanding members.   In order to withstand the scrutiny and competitive selection process, a personal portfolio must be sufficiently robust and reflective of diverse and versatile professional and personal accomplishments.  Conversely, any gaps or deficiencies revealed in this process can stimulate the desire for additional efforts in particular membership areas.

Having encountered this level of ASQ membership, I can personally attest to the personable and devoted dedication of the ASQ core staff, several of whom I now consider trusted personal friends.  The involvement and support of the key operational liaisons and facilitators reflects a commitment beyond that of a typical employee.  Even when problems or misunderstandings emerged, I found that their cordial and professional manner enabled positive dialogue and satisfactory resolutions.  When I visualize ASQ, I don’t perceive a logo or a remote building; my impressions gravitate to those particular ASQ staff members with whom I have the most frequent contact, and toward whom I have the highest personal regard and professional respect.

Preserving ASQ Loyalty Capital

As ASQ is not for everyone, not everyone will be supportive.  The ideals and virtues of a life spent pursuing and promoting Quality often run contrary to contemporary trends or fashions.  Even within the profession, there are disgruntled practitioners who view with suspicion and contempt those who aspire to levels of outstanding accomplishment and innovation.  It is important not to let the ill will of others diminish or taint the precious and valuable Loyalty Capital before it can be fully matured and enjoyed.

Attempting any worthy pursuit brings the risk of disappointment, failure, and discouragement from others.  There will be those who, having become frustrated with their own modest limitations, will seek to diminish your goals and aspirations with their attempts at mockery and malice.  This can go beyond constructive critiques to be detrimental and potentially limiting.  This unfortunate circumstance is not unique to high achievers, and when confronted with this, I take solace in the wise encouragement of President Theodore Roosevelt (amended for gender neutrality). 

“It is not the critics who count; not those who point out how the strong one stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the one who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends one’s self in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if one fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that one’s place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” 

To get the most from the Loyalty Capital you have cultivated over time, it is imperative that you rise above those who would limit or derail your ambitions.  Strive for the promise of your full potential, and all that awaits you within ASQ, and wherever your passionate pursuits may lead.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Evolution along the Quality Continuum

In response to the question posed in the recent View From The Q concerning whether the progression of Quality will follow an Evolutionary or Revolutionary path, I will first describe my vision of where the Quality domain will be in fifty years.

The Quality Continuum shows the progression of our profession to its present state, and sets the trends for future expectations.  The changing nature is reflective of many considerations which include:
- technological advancements in communication and data visualization for decision support,
- increased education and sophistication among employees and customers,
- increased options and opportunities through globalization,
- divergence of mentalities and attitudes across generations to the Millennials and beyond.
- the fluidity and flexibility of future enterprises relative to "brick and mortar" legacy operations

Based on where Quality has been, where it is today, and where the trends are leading, my extrapolations will generate a profile of an aggregation that is distinctly different from what we know today.

  • From CONTROL to PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE, Quality is moving toward emphasizing INNOVATION
  • From OPERATIONAL to CUSTOMER-DRIVEN, Quality is moving toward being MARKET CREATORS
  • From PRESCRIBED to ADAPTIVE, Quality is transitioning to be CREATIVE
  • From RESPONSIVE to PREDICTIVE, Quality is assuming a role of GOVERNANCE
  • From MANUAL to AUTOMATED, Quality methods will be INTUITIVE
  • From LIMITED to EXPANDED, participation in Quality will be UNIVERSAL
  • From RESTRICTED to FLEXIBLE, Quality will be UNLEASHED
  • From PASSIVE to ACTIVE, Quality will be DRIVEN
My personal inclination is that our profession has evolved over the last several decades, and will continue to evolve into the future.  I have great enthusiasm for the future of our profession, which I believe will be characterized by optimal levels of self-determination and meaningful fulfillment of personal and professional aspirations.

With every transition and transformation come a resistance to those changes that must be overcome in order for the changes to successfully materialize.  When rational appeals to logic and economic advantage fall on deaf ears and closed minds, then more assertive "revolutionary tactics" must be applied, lest the vision and wisdom be obscured and forgotten.

The evolution of Quality is evident and irreversible.  Whether the desired future state of Quality comes to fruition depends on the passion and conviction of our leading professionals and their willingness to unleash the creativity within to revolutionize our global experience.

Friday, August 1, 2014

ASQ Vision Presentation

Various members of the ASQ Influential Voices have posted their concerns and critiques about the ASQ Mission and Vision.

I thought that it might be helpful and beneficial to share some content from ASQ outlining the progression from the mission and vision to the determination and fulfillment of strategic goals and objectives.  ASQ Managing Director, Brian LeHouiller, presented this information in July 2014 and should be contacted for any questions or clarification at blehouiller@asq.org or 1-800-248-1946.

In my upcoming role as a Regional Director for Canada (Region 4), I look forward to working with the sections to promote and enhance this vision as it applied to the specific needs of our membership and quality community.  If supported by your browser, click the cursor over the images to see a larger view of the text.  If this does not work, please insert a comment and I will forward the image to your email.

This summarizes the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in order to define existing gaps within the ASQ domain.  By addressing and closing the explicit gaps, the improvement objectives can be defined and achieved.

This is the summary showing how particular initiatives intended to increase the impact and value to members.

This shows the connection from the ASQ mission and vision to the values, transformation imperatives, objectives, and strategies.  The connectivity and traceability are important to understand, since the completion of objectives and fulfillment of strategies will contribute to the overall accomplishment of the ASQ mission and vision.  "MoC" refers to Members of Community.  According to ASQ, this comprises the larger group of not only paid ASQ members, but anyone who has patronized or purchased goods and services from ASQ (i.e. attended conferences, ordered books from ASQ Press, enrolled in training).

These are the metrics by which ASQ will measure success or alternatively determine the need for improvement.

From this effort, ASQ intends to focus on those objectives which it believes will sustain and enhance the global community of quality professionals.