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, March 25, 2016

ASQ Society Membership

I was very delighted to read the recent View From The Q post by ASQ Chief Operating Officer, Ms. Shontra Powell.  Having had the pleasure to become personally acquainted, I will refer to the author as Shontra.

Before I comment on the well-researched and thought-provoking viewpoints expressed by Shontra, I wanted to first share some of my own analysis.  The ASQ Community Development team, through its Friday Fast Facts email publication, provides a link to Growth and Retention numbers for ASQ Sections in North America.

As there is a PAR Performance Award granted to ASQ Sections (in Good Standing) who demonstrate year over year success with membership growth and retention, I wanted to review the performance of sections in Region 4 (ASQ Canada), and compare that with other geographic regions.

My discovery was that in Canada, and across North America, ASQ is in a period of decline and diminished retention rates.  The current overall North America outcomes have a membership of approximately 60,000 members, with an annual growth rate of -4%, and a retention rate of 68% (based on the averages of totals for Sections). 

A review of the various ASQ sections identified a particular trend: Higher retention rates correlated with higher net growth rates.  This is logical, since sections with fewer members to replace can maintain and surpass their existing levels with fewer new members. 

Assuming that member growth is constant, the attribute which is within our control and which can determine overall membership levels is member retention.

According to this data, ASQ cannot hope to meet its growth targets until member retention is at or surpasses 80%. 

Among the insights within Shontra's post, the following would be constructive and beneficial toward the increased interest and engagement of our existing members, and consequently the basis for their long-term retention:
- Continued personal and professional growth (at member discounts with value and cost recovery)
- Part of connected physical and virtual communities
- Instant enhancements of knowledge through 24/7 portals and continuous information channels
- Breakthrough equity (I referred to this member value as "Loyalty Capital") which measures the worth of information and content.

I agree with Shontra, and the current numbers support that changes should be embraced.  In reality, the graphs will not be linear; demographic shifts and industrial changes will cause abrupt chasms to appear over the next 15-20 years as Baby Boomers leave the workforce.  If these changes are resisted or obstructed, the outcome will be the continued decline of our Society, until it must either be removed or absorbed into a more viable professional organization as one of its components.

If we do retain our membership, we will also retain the legacies and contributions of our Pioneers of Quality.  Member retention is essential to the preservation of our continuity and commitment to Quality. 

To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

CSQE Source Material - Dated, More Current Sources Required

When there are discussions about the relevance and applicability of an ASQ Certification, it is important to review the source material from which the certification is derived, and which it uses to create exams.

ASQ is in the software quality domain.  I have recently taken on a commitment to craft practice exam questions.  The reference list is below.  Given that we are now in 2016, I will highlight the relative ages of the reference.  Then consider how much software has evolved.
The range is 21 years with the newest publication 6 year old, and the oldest 27 years.  I plugged this into MS Excel and got the following



It will be very difficult to convince people that CSQE is relevant for 2016 when the cluster of books was written in the prior generation.  Most software products from the early 2000s are past end-of-life and need to be retired or replaced.  In addition, there have been many trends and advances in software and applications which this material does not address or consider because these practices were not yet functional:

- Mobile applications "apps"
- Software as a service
- Social media and platforms
- Open access freeware
- Sharing services
It is not my intent to disparage the excellent resources below.  I have put in bold those particular references which I personally possess and highly recommend.

However I believe that this foundation of material should be augmented with more contemporary resources in Software Quality, particularly in the relevant Software QA issues of 2016 and beyond.

CSQE Reference List 2015
These books cover the parts of the Body of Knowledge. ASQ Certification Board does not endorse any one particular reference source.

8 years – obsolete by 2015 version
Ø ANSI/ISO/ASQ Q9001-2008: Quality Management Systems: Requirements. (new revision) T860 (E)

Ø ASQ Code of Ethics http://www.asq.org/about-asq/who-we-are/ethics.html

22 years
Ø Booch, Grady, Objected-Oriented Analysis and Design with Applications 2nd ed., Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., Inc., 1994. ISBN 0805353402

6 years
Ø Capability Maturity Model® Integration (CMMI), CMMI® for Development, Version 1.3, August 2010.

14 years
Ø Daughtrey, Taz, ed., Fundamental Concepts for the Software Quality Engineer, ASQ Quality Press, 2002. H1115

14 years
Ø Futrell, Robert T., Donald F. Shafer, and Linda I. Shafer, Quality Software Project Management, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2002. ISBN 0130912972

23 years
Ø Gilb, Tom, and Dorothy Graham, Software Inspection, London: Addison-Wesley Professional, 1993. ISBN 0201631814

9 years
Ø Gryna, Frank M., Richard C.H. Chua, and Joseph A. Defeo, Juran’s Quality Planning and Analysis for Enterprise Quality, 5th ed., New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. P1237

21 years
Ø Humphrey, Watts, A Discipline for Software Engineering, Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley, 1995. ISBN 0201546108

27 years
Ø Humphrey, Watts, Managing the Software Process, Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley, 1989. ISBN 0201180952

17 years
Ø Juran, Joseph M., Juran’s Quality Handbook, 5th ed., New York: McGraw-Hill, 1999. P660

13 years
Ø Kan, Stephen H., Metrics and Models in Software Quality Engineering, 2nd ed., Boston: Addison-Wesley, 2003. ISBN 0201729156

17 years
Ø Kaner, Cem, Jack Falk, and Hung Quoc Nguyen, Testing Computer Software, 2nd ed, Wiley Computer Publishing, 1999. ISBN 0471358460

12 years
Ø Keyes, Jessica, Software Configuration Management, CRC/Auerbach Publications, 2004, 0-8493-1976-5

21 years
Ø Kit, Edward, Software Testing in the Real World: Improving the Process. Addison-Wesley Publishing Co., 1995. ISBN 0201877562

20 years
Ø Lyu, Michael R., Handbook of Software Reliability Engineering, Los Alamitos: IEEE Computer Society Press, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1996. ISBN 0070394008 Complete book available online at http://www.cse.cuhk.edu.hk/~lyu/book/reliability/index.html

12 years
Ø Myers, Glenford J., The Art of Software Testing, 2nd ed., New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2004. ISBN 0471469122.

20 years
Ø Myerson, Marian, Risk Management Processes for Software Engineering Methods, Boston: Artech Computer House Library, 1996. ISBN: 0890066353

9 years
Ø Poppendieck, Mary and Tom, Implementing Lean Software Development, Addison-Wesley: Upper Saddle River, NJ, 2007. ISBN 0321437381

12 years
Ø Pressman, Roger S., Software Engineering: A Practitioner’s Approach, 6th ed., New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004. ISBN 007301933X

15 years
Ø Rakitin, Steven R., Software Verification and Validation for Practitioners and Managers, 2nd ed., Boston: Artech House, 2001. ISBN 1580532969, PDF download ISBN B000066FYE

10 years
Ø Russell, J.P., ed., ASQ Quality Audit Division, The ASQ Auditing Handbook, 3rd ed., Milwaukee: ASQ Quality Press, 2006. H1263

13 years
Ø Scholtes, Peter R., Brian L, Joiner, and Barbara J. Streibel, The Team Handbook, 3rd ed., Oreil Inc., 2003. P1030

8 years
Ø Schulmeyer, G. Gordon, Handbook of Software Quality Assurance, 4th ed., Boston, MA: Artech House, 2008. ISBN 9781596931862, 1596931868

7 years
Westfall, Linda, The Certified Software Quality Engineer Handbook. ASQ Quality Press, Milwaukee, 2009. ISBN: 987-0-87389-730-3


Thursday, March 3, 2016

ASQ Members - Synchronize ASQ Certifications for fun and profit

This is a particular message which, if I do nothing else in ASQ, I hope will be associated with any legacy I may have.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, I am a modest man because I have much to be modest about. In my middle age, my aspirations have shifted so that on a good day, I can claim to be punctual, polite, and have good personal hygiene.  Unfortunately in 2016, possession of these three attributes concurrently elevates one to the top percentile of society.

As far as the merits and benefits of ASQ certification are concerned,  I defer to the many articles already published in ASQ Quality Progress, along with the excellent ASQ video available on YouTube.


With respect to synchronizing certifications, I wanted to share some insight.

I have been synchronizing my certifications for 15 years, and consequently have been able to retain the original certifications I attained back in the mid-late 1990s.  I have always appreciated this member benefit, but it was only recently that I realized that non-members of ASQ who wish to recertify their credentials have to do so individually at a substantially higher rate.

Assuming that the non-member does not abandon their certification or lets it lapse, the long-term commitment of a perpetual certification is $109 USD, payable every 3 years, for the rest of a career.  For someone who achieved their credentials in their 20s and 30s, that could result in funding an additional 10-12 renewal cycles. This adds a long-term cost of $1000-1500 per renewable ASQ certification, unless ASQ member discounts are applied.

This long-term consideration is generally not considered, but let's say that a practitioner with 4 certifications (CQA, CQE, CSSBB, and CMQ/OE) wants their ASQ credentials to be relevant for the next 15 years (5 renewal cycles).  The chart below show that the member would save over $400 USD by renewing these as an ASQ Member, and these savings would be compounded 5 times, giving a nominal long-term member benefit of $2000 USD (even more when the time-value of money is considered).

To those ASQ members with 1 or fewer renewable certifications, the benefits of certificate synchronization do not apply.  Not all career models are served by having multiple certifications, but I personally advocate that a managerial CMQ/OE complements the technical certifications like CQE, CRE, or CSQE.

According to the current pricing model, certificate renewal brings incremental advantages over a 3 year period.  Let's drop the whole 9 and round up prices numbers divisible by 10. 

Every 3 years, the certifications have to be renewed.  The savings of doing renewals within an ASQ membership (and available discounts) are immediately available on the first certification, and if you are renewing 5 or more, the cost recovery from the money saved actually exceeds the cost of ASQ membership.  This means that the investment of ASQ membership is recovered every 3 years through certification renewal savings alone.  It's a good deal, and one of the most valuable and under-publicized benefits of a long-term commitment to ASQ.