I am committed to my mission of helping organizations implement sound quality management principles to information. This month I describe W. Edwards Deming's 14 Points of Management Transformation and how they apply to information quality (IQ) to help you sort the "wheat from the chaff."1 The following is a summary of the 14 Points of Information Quality.
- Create constancy of purpose for improvement of information products and services. Management must solve two sets of problems: today's and tomorrow's. This requires a long-term plan focused on meeting the needs of your customers. In IQ, the obligation to the information customer never ceases.
- Adopt the new philosophy of high quality shared information as a tool for business performance excellence. Reliable shared information reduces costs. This means a transformation of information systems management and business management.
- Cease dependence on inspection alone to achieve IQ. You must design quality by improving the data and application design processes and the business processes that create, maintain and deliver information.
- End the practice of developing applications on the basis of on-time, within-budget measures without a measure of quality and capturing data at the lowest cost. Productivity measures invariably increase defective applications, errors and missing information, which in turn increases total costs, including information scrap and rework. Invest in high quality applications and databases, and information producers will create high quality information that reduces failure and rework.
- Improve the processes of application, data development and service, and information production and maintenance constantly. Continual process improvement results in a continual reduction of costs of information scrap and rework and increase in opportunity gain.
- Institute training on IQ for all employees. Train producers and managers to know all their information customers and their information requirements.
- Institute leadership for IQ. Appoint a full-time IQ leader to lead the enterprise. Management must lead, not just supervise, and must assume accountability for IQ.
- Drive out fear of data uncertainty or data errors. Create a nonblame, nonjudgmental environment. Encourage risk to change without punishing missteps. Encourage improvement by eliminating root causes without blame.
- Break down barriers between staff areas. Work as partners in teams, including information management and application development; IT and business; and between business areas. Enterprise failure occurs when departments work autonomously toward their own goals that suboptimize downstream process performance.
- Eliminate slogans and exhortations and replace with actions for IQ improvement. Most IQ problems are caused by the "system" — rewarding for speed, lack of clear data definition, lack of resources, training and understanding of downstream information customers and quality requirements. Exhortations without management action for quality create stress and frustration with only temporary benefits. Provide commitment and resources for quality.
- Eliminate quotas of productivity for information producers and management that increase errors and costs of information scrap and rework. Quotas for quantity actually lower real productivity by decreasing quality that drives up the cost of failure and scrap and rework. Create a balanced scorecard that includes end-customer satisfaction, internal information producer and knowledge worker satisfaction, and reduction of costs of information scrap and rework.
- Remove barriers to pride of workmanship. Empower information producers to fix the problems in the processes, for they know the problems of their processes and given an opportunity, will fix them. Develop a habit of information defect prevention as part of everyone's job.
- Encourage vigorous education and self-improvement for all knowledge workers. Everyone must understand the paradigm shift and learn tomorrow's skills. Provide education in information age principles, value-chain management, self-improvement, process improvement and innovation.
- Take action to accomplish the transformation for information quality. Senior management must organize itself to make IQ happen. It must feel the pain of the status quo and must communicate to people why change is necessary. Implement a plan-do-study-act process for IQ improvement. Remember, every process is a candidate for improvement.
If you understand the fundamental principles of quality management and apply it to information, you will not be led astray by misleading and deficient processes proposed in the name of information quality.
What do you think? Let me hear at Larry.English@infoimpact.com.
- W. Edwards Deming. Out of the Crisis. Cambridge, MA: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Advanced Engineering Study, 1986.
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