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Quality Definitions

Many of our technical colleagues in the IT services or support industry think they have an understanding, or a view point of the meaning of quality. We use the term every day, in regards to food, service at the supermarket or restaurant.  Generally, we tend to grade any product or service we pay for, including tax-funded government services, with several degrees of quality that are usually subjective (great, poor, reasonable, fantastic, could be better, disappointing, abysmal or inferior).

This approach will not cut it when we are trying to convince our current and potential customers, of the "quality" of our services and products, as well as the quality management disciplines and quality controls that are integrated throughout our businesses and organisations.

In a market place of customers who are increasingly demanding cost effective products and services, that match their real requirements, the days of the quality fluff merchant (aka shonky used car salesperson) are numbered.

At a minimin, getting your quality terms closer to the accepted definitions as you do your sales pitch in the IT services industry (managers and sales staff), is a great start to enspiring customer confidence and buy-in. In the following diagram, I have captured a breakdown of five common quality terms that all IT professionals should really be familiar with in a modern, successful and customer focused company (of any size).

  1. Quality
  2. Quality Management System
  3. Quality Control
  4. Quality Improvement
  5. Quality Assurance

Various editions of the ISO9000 standards (or related training material) may refine the definitions and components, but these are still essentially the same.

I included the Dimensions of Quality to emphasize the scope of the ISO9000 standards requirements.  Many people still regard the objectives of a QMS to be focused only on the quality of the product or services provided.

Go to our Quality Training Resources page for a list of wikipedia and other links for ISO9000 and other quality systems.

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