Quality is Free

Quality is Free is the name of a book by Phlip B. Crosby in which he argues that quality is free and lays out a Zero Defects program to improve quality. Crosby’s ideas, along with Deming, Juran, and others, influenced the Quality Movement.

Crosby says that there is a cost of quality. The cost of quality comprises fourteen ingredients such as rework, warranty, engineering changes, and purchase order changes, and that these costs more than cover the costs of improving quality. He says that improving quality will reduce costs and so will increase profits without increasing sales. 

The staff are not the cause of poor quality. Crosby argues that the staff are like a mirror and reflect the attitude of management towards quality. 

Zero Defects is the name Crosby gives to his program to improve quality. Zero Defects is about preventing defects rather than fixing them and has the aim of getting work right the first time it is done. The promotional activities of the program such as giving every member of staff a badge saying “I’m for quality” have not aged well, but the Zero Defects program shows how a company can improve quality by removing the causes of defects. The program also includes teams setting their own goals for improving quality and that teams should work together on error cause removal.

A phrase used by Crosby in the book is “Quality is free, but requires effort”. He says this because,  in the book, he shows that  improving quality will cut costs and that effort is needed to improve quality. 
Further reading: Quality Is Free: The Art of Making Quality Certain

Published by Mike Harris

Mike has been working in testing for 20 years and is currently the lone tester for Geckoboard. He has been a Test Lead and has also worked as a part of waterfall, lean and agile teams. He is also Programme Secretary of BCS SIGiST. Mike has a B.Sc.(HONS) from Middlesex University and is an Associate of the University of Hertfordshire. He has set up and led a Testing Community of Practice and been part of a successful agile transition. He is Co-Programme Chair of the British Computer Society’s Specialist Interest Group in Software Testing. He also contributed to the e-book Testing Stories and has had articles published by the Ministry of Testing. Follow Mike on Twitter: @TestAndAnalysis

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