A New Continuous Quality Improvement Vision for a Changing Technological Market

A New Continuous Quality Improvement Vision for a Changing Technological Market

Beatriz Olalla-Caballero, Montserrat Mata-Fernández
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-5036-6.ch004
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Continuous quality improvement (CQI) is an essential tool for those information technologies companies (IT) that want to succeed in a competitive and disruptive market, achieving its goals and objectives, obtaining benefits and increasing their market share, or even assuring clients loyalty. Changing the environment and the global economy may affect the purposes of a company and, hence, in the success of the market strategy carried out by the firm. A proper continuous quality improvement model or framework can help a company to follow-up the quality level of products, projects, or services, identifying actions to be developed to be able to have an agile and immediate response among competitors. In this way, a company may be reinforced and may assure its survival in a changing and disruptive environment.
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This chapter aims to analyze the importance of quality management nowadays in companies in the Information Technologies (IT) market, underlining how it may help enterprises stay in the market and be strong enough to fight against competition. Quality is a concept that involves cost savings in a company, and thus, there is a need to analyze this perspective of quality regarding see it as a competitive advantage. It is also crucial to carry out an overview of cost savings related to quality management, hierarchy influence, client satisfaction, and quality targets measurement through performance indicators.

Some several issues and perspectives should also be considered when talking about quality management in a company. This chapter details these perspectives, their advantages, and other matters related to quality explaining them in detail and trying to identify their importance in an enterprise through a proposed set of Critical Success Factors (CSF) and Key Performance Indicators (KPI). These perspectives are based on the authors’ experience in managing IT projects and how to take advantage of them. To detail these results and to define the proposal, a group of 15 IT projects was considered and analyzed. The operation and managing activities of them were taken into account, together with their lessons learned.

First of all, an overview of quality concepts and perspectives, standards, and models are analyzed to identify important factors of them in IT projects to be included in our proposal. The analysis and results of the IT projects considered are gathered, aligned to the factors previously considered and summarized in the chapter, to focus the conclusion and recommendations on getting the advantages of the proposal. But before, it is necessary to start talking about the concept of quality and its origins. It is well known that the importance of quality has passed the time ago from the academic fields to join companies as part of its growth and continuous improvement strategy and is now a vital tool for decision-making by the executive committee. Every company has been adapting to the different quality regulations arising from the needs of the market and society. All of them have been adapting to the various regulations arising from the needs of the market and community. Historically the first focus of quality was the product, then passed to the client and finally focused on all stakeholders (Sánchez, & Castro, 2005). Undoubtedly, quality has been part of the evolutionary process of man since it was something that allowed him to improve his daily activities, and therefore the outcome of them, resulting in an improvement in his quality of life.

But it is at the end of the XIX century, with the arrival of the industrial era, when a significant change took place. Productive chains required a revision of the products, so they adjusted to the required standards. Therefore, quality began to be seen from another perspective. It was then when the quality control departments began to appear in some companies because it was necessary to check and verify the compliance in the requirements in terms of quality. It highlights the design of the American statistician Shewhart of a graph to control the variables of the product to decrease errors and increase productivity, and the design of the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, later baptized as the Deming cycle. Deming was an American statistician and engineer that arrived in Japan carrying this cycle and becoming the father of Japanese quality. It was also in this period when the concept of quality management was created by Feigenbaum, who first applied Total Quality Control (TQC) at General Electric and inspired Total Quality Management (TQM), whose importance is reflected in this chapter. These facts, and the contribution of the engineer Juran who highlighted the importance of the management area’s commitment to achieving quality, established the foundations and contributed to the explosion of quality in Japan. His trilogy is still in force, and it involves three areas: quality planning, quality improvement, and quality control. It was the consultant Ishikawa who then carried out the consolidation process of the quality (Cubillos, & Rozo, 2009). His contributions to improving quality encompass not only the Fishbone Cause and Effect Diagram (Ishikawa Diagram) but also the implementation of Quality Circles; both are considered in the seven essential quality improvement tools.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Soft Skills: A set of skills or competencies not based on a degree, and with them, it makes easiest to deal with problems or conflicts in a firm.

Transformational Goals: A set of changes needed to apply to go from current to the desired status with the participation of everyone and supported by the CEO.

Regulation: It is a group of guidelines, usually documented, to establish the rules to be followed to achieve or have the required level (legal, economic, etc.) to work in a specific environment.

Continuous Improvement: This is how every company has to always do better work through several tasks, such as analyzing and reviewing what is being done.

Standard: Prototypes, models, or references used to know if what has to be measured is compliant with standard requirements.

Attractive Quality: It is a set of attributes that can take five high levels of benefits if they are met, but have no negative consequences if they are not achieved.

Globalization: It is the way used to help the understanding and work of everyone, independently regardless of his origin: country, company, culture, etc.

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