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Process Improvement Essentials by James R. Persse PhD

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Benefits of Process

The word "quality" means different things to different people. For some, it's a sign of endurance. For others, it's a measure of innovation. But just about everyone agrees that, in the end, the concept of quality has to do with expectations, usually the expectations of the customer.

When you build something that performs in a way the customer wants or needs, you'll typically be credited with delivering quality. If you miss the mark—no matter how well put-together the thing is—its quality quotient will come into question. In the business of technology, then, it's important that organizations arrive at a definition of quality. The value in this bit of advice becomes clear when you think about process.

Process is about inputs and outputs. It is a way to shape inputs in order to generate desired outputs. In any production system, the ultimate output is a viable product. "Quality" then will be imbedded in the thing you've created. And so any process is dependent on first understanding what the output has to be.

The phrase "quality culture" describes an organization that has designed the pattern of its activities to deliver a product (or service) that carries within it the corporate definition of quality. Very few IT organizations would admit to having a weak understanding of what their customers want. And even fewer would admit to having no real way of getting there. But more than a few studies indicate that definitions of quality and the production processes that help ...

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