Total Quality, the Vitech Way
“Quality comes not from inspection, but from the improvement of the production process.”
― W. Edwards Deming
MBAs, engineers, and techies like myself snap to attention whenever we hear the name W. Edwards Deming. The “Father of Quality,” an engineer, statistician, and business theoretician, Deming was the leading contributor to Total Quality Management (TQM), a management philosophy whose goal is continuous organizational improvement to achieve long-term success. According to Deming, success is defined as customer satisfaction and ongoing employee excellence, with organizations, clients, and society all benefitting from the efforts and end results.
Although Deming’s ideas and TQM were overshadowed by later 20thcentury management frameworks such as GE’s Six Sigma, they share many of the same principles of continuous improvement with a focus on quality throughout each stage of production, and early mappings of processes necessary for customer satisfaction. Not surprisingly, these same principles are central to Vitech’s total quality initiative, “Quality 360,” which establishes a quality-focused partnership with clients throughout each project to ensure successful rollouts without sacrificing high-level results.
Quality 360 Fundamentals
A QA Collective
No matter how long or complex the implementation, Vitech’s Quality 360 methodology makes the quality of the implementation the responsibility of all involved, including SMEs, decision-makers, and other key staff. This communal responsibility is the foundation of the project, with common frameworks, tools, and governance models embedded throughout each stage.
A “Shift Left” Mindset
Quality 360 is outcome focused and leverages a “shift left” mindset (referring to the early placement of a project task, typically situated on the far left of an illustrated project timeline). A first step is to determine how clients intend to use the system, and then incorporate their perspectives in the development and testing processes while in its early stages. By shifting left, product teams also conduct testing early in the process to find issues and prevent costly errors, for a smooth user acceptance testing and go-live.
A Data Definitive
Similar to TQM methodology, Quality 360 prioritizes and measures quality KPI data at each stage of the process and incorporates it immediately into future decision making. Just like TQM, Quality 360 measures data definitively and repeatedly, to feed the outputs directly back into testing for future, error-free approaches. This practice is a big departure from standard implementations and helps identify potential pitfalls and challenges much earlier in the project timeline, well before completion.
Despite all the attention paid to the current project and testing processes, it’s important not to lose sight of the project’s end state and how clients will use the system in years to come. It will eventually go live and power the client’s business, so Quality 360 also incorporates a long-term, future-focused strategy for clients, and leverages key learnings for future engagements. For example, during the implementation, Vitech project teams partner with clients to develop a library of business-driven regression tests that match the client’s expected results, and are subsequently automated to capitalize on speed and accuracy. This is particularly forward-looking as the “shift-left” approach to automated testing is an investment that will pay off in future system upgrades.
Quality 360’s market-driven approach helps balance project development speed with constant quality assurance. With project team engagement, testing early and often, and incorporating key learnings into current and future projects, Vitech can ensure that expedited projects are embedded with quality from start to finish. In other words, enabling the total quality outcomes of which Dr. Deming himself would approve.