Chapter 6: What Quality Means

People define quality in many ways. A high-quality product to one person can mean unacceptable quality to somebody else. Very often people identify quality with a lack of defects in a product or service. In addition, what the term ‘defect’ means different things to different people. Equally, the product feature set is an important aspect of the definition of a high-quality product, as well as the timing of when these features are made available. This chapter provides a look at quality from different perspectives such as quality culture, quality standards and quality in a software product.

The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society for Quality (ASQ) define quality as follows:

the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears on its ability to satisfy given needs.

All self-respecting companies agree that the main reason to pursue quality is to satisfy customers. This is also called fitness for use. In highly competitive markets, those who succeed do not only meet customer expectations but generally exceed them. Thus, one of the most popular definitions of quality is meeting or exceeding customer expectations.1

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Figure 6-1. Product quality diagram.

Quality expectations and the challenge in fulfilling them are shown in Figure 6-1.

Organizational culture has a definite impact on the success of ...

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