Who Owns Quality?

Who is responsible for quality in your business? A lofty response is it is everyone’s responsibility. Whilst this is the ideal, what does that mean? Let’s reframe the question — where does the buck stop?

The answer to this question probably depends on the maturity of the business in question and the maturity of the quality management systems.

In many businesses, there will be a Quality Manager or a Quality Department, but instead of them “owning” quality, a mature arrangement might see them acting as Quality Specialists or Advisors, with the business taking ultimate responsibility.

One challenge I see in larger organisations is getting staff to follow processes that administer and aid in quality analysis. It is common for staff to avoid the tedious aspects of system management hoping to leave it to “someone else”, namely an admin person or the Quality Manager.

A solution I have suggested recently is to implement Quality Champions across the organization. For this model to succeed, quality champions need to be:

  1. Informed about compliance requirements (Why);
  2. Authorised to make decisions or to approve relevant process documentation (How); and
  3. Measured for relevant quality performance (What)

In addition, to get staff to follow a process, we need to make it easy and rewarding. If people know why they are ticking a box and completing a field, they are more likely to do it. If they receive positive feedback upon doing so, then even more so.

Quality Champions are a great concept that can work when implemented properly and at the right time in a company’s maturity. Is it something you’re ready to try?