Chapter 2. The Quality Lesson—Can We Get It Right This Time?

"Politicians use statistics like a drunken man uses a lamp-post: for support rather than illumination."

Attributed to Andrew Lang

The above quote applies equally to the CEO, CIO, CFO, or CTO of your organization. If it did not, Sarbanes-Oxley would not be necessary and the incredible financial malfeasance at Enron, WorldCom, and Global Crossing would have never occurred at the disastrous levels that brought these companies and their CEOs down.

Nonetheless, it did happen and there were huge losses—not only to the companies in question, but to their employees and society at large. We are all worse off because of the almost incomprehensible fraud perpetrated by the leaders of these organizations. The loss to society is a key concept that keeps coming back in the writings of all the quality gurus of the last 50 years. From Deming, Juran, and Crosby, to Ishikawa, Akao, and Taguchi, the message is the same: When quality suffers, everyone suffers.

Probably one of the most problematic chapters in the PMBOK is the chapter on quality. The most recent version of the PMBOK (2004) has made some minor improvements, but fundamental issues remain. A case in point follows that describes the "Cost of Quality (COQ)"— paragraph 8.1.2.4:

Quality costs are the total costs incurred by the investment in preventing non-conformance to requirements, appraising the product or service for conformance to requirements and failing to meet requirements (rework). ...

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