Monday, August 20, 2012

Quality Control - Part 1

It's time yet again to to blow the dust off the old blog; this time with a series on quality control. As usual, I'll attempt to address the topic within the context of training, education and performance support products and services. Before jumping in to the topic, which I'll do in subsequent posts, I'd like to begin this series by defining a couple terms, particularly quality and grade.   Quality refers to the ability to meet requirements, whether explicit or implicit. If something is high quality, it means it meets someone's stated requirements, such as instructional requirements, content requirements, delivery requirements, etcetera. Requirements, of course, are different depending on each person's needs and change over time as the person's needs change.  Grade, on the other hand, refers to the category of something as compared to something else with similar functional characteristics. For example, Mercedes Benz might be considered a high grade automobile, or K-Mart might be considered a low grade product seller. Pop quiz: Does high grade equal high quality? Not necessarily. Take the automobile example above. If you were in the market to purchase a low cost vehicle for the purpose of hauling equipment from one construction site to another, which vehicle would likely be higher quality: an inexpensive used Toyota truck, or a brand new Mercedes Benz convertible two-seater? If you chose the truck, you're correct. The truck meets the stated requirements, both from a cost and utility perspective. Why is this important? To deliver high quality training, education and performance support products and services you need to understand what the requirements are. What instructional objectives need to be met? How much should it cost to develop training? What technical specifications must be met to deploy the training product to the target audience? And the list goes on. Identifying all these requirements isn't usually an easy task. How often do you encounter people that can describe everything a product or service must be able to do?  Over the next several posts, I'll share some methods of identifying these requirements and putting processes in place to ensure you meet these requirements.

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