December 21, 2014

Advent Quality: Audacious Widgets

Who are these dreaded auditors who will ask so many questions? Auditors are grey-robed, hooded figures who speak only in the third person and wish for the universe to be comprehensively catalogued, explain, and, if at all possible, static. No, wait, that’s Auditors. Mundane auditors...

December 20, 2014

Advent Quality: Sign And Date

The reason to obsessively write things down is that if you write down what you did, then later, you’ll know what you did. It’s as simple as that. It’s good record-keeping. Don’t wait until four pm when you’ve been fighting fires all day to write...

December 19, 2014

Advent Quality: Widget Emergencies

Change control doesn’t mean making sure that nothing ever changes. It means making sure that when change inevitably does happen, it happens in a controlled fashion. It’s like the difference between a floor and a safety line – it’s not there to stop you falling,...

Advent Quality: Changeable Widgets

No matter how good your systems, there will be times when things go wrong. There will be times when your widgets need to be put back through the polishing machine again, or when you have to get all hands on deck to package them because...

December 15, 2014

Advent Quality: Limited Edition Widgets

Why is an over-narrow limit bad? Why is an over-narrow limit even a meaningful concept – surely getting things more right is always better? If you define your widgets as a particular shade of red, and you define that shade as narrowly as you can...

December 14, 2014

Advent Quality: Free-Range Widgets

How narrowly a range should be defined depends entirely on what you’re making and what its purpose is. Red paint for car repairs needs to be very exact in shade, but the levels of bacteria are probably completely irrelevant. Red icing for cakes needs to...

December 13, 2014

Advent Quality: Precision Widgets

Just as you can’t test every widget on every criterion, you can’t test every criterion exactly. The world is not exact. The world is not precise. If you specify that every widget must be exactly 2.21 mm wide, then almost every widget is going to...

December 12, 2014

Advent Quality: Risky Widgets

The art of risk assessment is arcane, mysterious, and vital to any sane testing regimen. You are the widget-maker. You are a responsible and safety-conscious widget-maker, who wishes their widgets to be trustworthy. You intend to implement a testing procedure, to ensure that your widgets...

December 11, 2014

Advent Quality: Widget Testing

I’ve mentioned testing several times, and not gone into detail; let’s dig into that. Testing is one of the most obvious things that a quality department does. They take samples away, they come back with numbers, and sometimes you’re allowed to use the widgets and...

December 10, 2014

Advent Quality: Traceable Widgets

The question of proof is from some perspectives the entire point of a quality system. Yesterday we touched on one of the most important kinds of proof, besides the basic “we do actually know what “doing it right” would mean in these circumstances” of having...

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