Sunday, September 23, 2012

How companies manage quality in today's rapidly changing world ?

We have a new phrase from the ASQ Influential Voices Community - 'Fast Quality'! I think it is very relevant for Paul to come up with such an interesting topic on fast quality for this month's discussion.

There is no doubt that the world is changing so rapidly that people and companies are trying to catch up in all aspects to avoid obsolescence.   That being said, catching up with today's rapidness is not easy.  Thus, quality practitioners have started to think and act slightly different to manage change. 

I think effective information management has become very critical for success.  Keeping all stakeholders well informed, about a future state or action, is a recent trend in successful companies.  Customers are made aware and prepared for the future technological changes ahead of time.   For example, take the case of Apple that came up with Snow Leopard (10.6) in 2009 and, then released 2 new Mac OS X versions (10.7 and 10.8).   The new changes introduced in Lion (10.7) were significant.  Through proper communication and preparedness, Apple ensured that customers accepted this change positively.  It may be noted that, in Lion, Apple incorporated many of its mobile operating system, iOS features.

Information technology industry is  undergoing changes to meet the needs of the fast moving world.  Agile development techniques such as scrum development, extreme programming etc., are popular and effective to deal with dynamically changing customer requirements.  These methods enable continuous improvement incorporating changes based on the business needs.  Teams include customer representation and focus on iterative progress which helps to manage change.

Quality practitioners, I believe, have also started to look beyond root cause analysis.   Managing constraints has  become  important.  Theory of constraints, the goal focused approach, helps bringing the best of techniques such as Critical Path Method(CPM) and Just-In-Time (JIT), that is critical for a project's success.

Novelty is loved by everybody today.  So, companies are making huge investments in creating innovation labs to generate transformational ideas.  They broke traditional organization structures and brought company-wide networking mechanisms to promote liveliness.  Implementation of lean techniques with strong focus on waste reduction also help them improve all-round efficiency.

Technology is going to be changing much more rapidly in the future.  Thus, products and services also will change accordingly.  Tomorrow's world will be highly mobile with everything available in the cloud. Systems will need to be very flexible to meet the dynamic needs.  Total flexible quality will continue to evolve .... 

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