Quality Experiences

That's a word I have come to severely detest.
After I moved to this country, I have had low quality employees in the Quality division all over me trying to get me to support their hare brained process documentation and audit passing schemes.
These idiots believe that all you need to do to be a quality organization is write everything down, link up a bunch of word documents in a ridiculous home grown kluge of a database, and then sit back and relax as the auditors waltz in an out of your facility asking mind numbing questions and making non-value added remarks.
Of course you get certified - you paid the auditors for that - and then the Quality organization picks up their bonus check and smiles their annoying smile on the way to the bank.

Now here's the rub.
Sometimes you get smart, scheming people. They know how the system works, they exploit it to get paid, and they end up with large sums of money in their back pockets with nary a bead of sweat on their forehead. They're bad, evil people. I detest them.
The people I've met, who work in Quality, are not these kind. They're people with the IQ of a glob of sputum, who just are in a system that helps them get paid. I detest them even more because I'm jealous that they receive the recognition and financial rewards that I get only when I find enough time from my job to sneak in a nap long enough to allow me to dream.

I'm struggling to understand why the Quality division has the lowest quality of people in the organization as a whole.
These people believe that the tool is more important than the outcome. They will spend insane amounts of time and money to come up with a database/automated scorecard/statistics package and what have you without ever trying to understand what needs to be stored/measured/analyzed.

The most irritating aspect is the scorecard part. They will measure things that don't matter, reach conclusions that are just plain wrong, and take actions that don't even justify their conclusions! It's truly amazing to me.
They don't have the ability to generate a simple root cause analysis. I was -probably inordinately - pissed off with a (low) quality employee who had completed a root cause analysis and arrived at an explanation so startlingly inadequate that it seemed he did not understand what "root" cause even meant. I found out later that this dude's entire understanding of RCA was to ask the question why. And this guy wanted to do a six sigma project. **shudder**

So Quality dudes, here's some advice for you, which, if followed, will help you and your parent companies actually get some benefits. In fact, you should write out the parts in bold and stick them in your cube.

  1. Screw the tool. The tool is not the end. Team Force India will beat Ferrari every time if Ferrari chose to seat you behind the wheel. Sometimes the tool is not even the means. In fact, screw the tool, it's the last thing you need to develop. Focus on the intent
  2. Think before you measure. (I know I know, thinking is hard, it makes your head hurt, I know.) Measuring the wrong things is worse than measuring nothing. If you select "number of times your employees take a dump" as a metric to indicate "productivity", You're not going to end up with higher productivity. All you're going to have is a smelly workplace because your employees are shitting their pants.
  3. Any actions you recommend based on one metric is wrong. Metrics never tell you causes. They only measure things. You have to analyze to get to the cause. And to analyze, you need a couple of things (a) some basic intelligence, which means you have to evolve a brain that is a little better than your current single celled thing (b) understand the business process you are measuring, which means you gave to get down and dirty with the boys who actually do the work
  4. Documentation is step 0. Documenting a process and putting a bunch of crapola in a database so you can show it off to a bunch of asinine auditors (and trust me these guys are the bottom of the barrel even in the Quality organization) doesn't achieve anything. You have to understand the process, ensure that it reflects reality, and then set about improving them.
So stop nodding your heads and question if you truly understand the four things above.
If you do, please spread the word in any forum of Quality morons you attend, and maybe some day the world will live as one.

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