I've marketed myself a Quality Professional for about 20 years now, yet I still wonder about the definition of Quality. When one of my children bursts into spontaneous laughter I see the Quality of my Life (and theirs), yet in that laughter I also note minor flaws...are his or her teeth straight for instance. So I've asked myself time and again what is quality...
Some say beauty is in the eyes of the beholder – So quality is perceived by individuals in their own way. This, I believe and accept as the true definition of Quality...it is self defined.
According to Dr. W. Edwards Deming "Quality (control) does not mean achieving perfection. It means the efficient production of quality that the market expects". This, too, sounds reasonable, however, it is only referring to products and production. Not enough, what about service, what about quality of life?
Dr. Joseph Juran defined quality as "fitness for use". How do you use a flower? A perfect rose exhibits undefinable quality attributes but is it truly fit for use?
Phil Crosby said that quality is “Conformance to Requirements”. I ask, who defines the requirements? Answer - the user, therefore I go back to my earlier thought that Quality is perceived by the individual.
Many other definitions exist and if you review them you will find that they all seem to hover around this thougth of user perception.
So I will leave you for today with this thought...Quality is defined by you...when you interpret a specification you are defining the quality of the product as it should be, when you hold your child and he squeezes you back you are defining a quality of life equal to no other, when you accept a product or service you have accepted the producers perception of the product or service's quality, not your own perception unless the two match (and hopefully they do).