This is a term which has a variety of definitions. In fact if you ask 10 people in a group and get ready for at least 15 unique answers.
If you look at the popular dictionaries you will find the following definitions
Oxford Dictionary : 1. the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something: 2. a distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone or something:
Merriam-Webster’s : 1. A peculiar and essential character 2. an inherent feature 3. A degree of excellence 4. A distinguishing attribute.
These definitions are not of help if you are looking as a quality professional.
Also the Gurus on this subject define it differently Now let us see what the Gurus on the subject matter say.
Anon “Common sense set down on paper”
Joseph M. Juran: “Fitness for use.” Fitness is defined by the customer.
“Quality” means those features of products which meet customer needs and thereby provide customer satisfaction”
“Quality” means freedom from deficiencies-freedom from errors”
Subir Chowdhury: “Quality combines people power and process power.”
Philip B. Crosby: “Conformance to requirements.”
Robert Pirsig: “The result of care.”
Genichi Taguchi, with two definitions:
- a. “Uniformity around a target value.” The idea is to lower the standard deviation in outcomes, and to keep the range of outcomes to a certain number of standard deviations, with rare exceptions.
- b. “The loss a product imposes on society after it is shipped.” This definition of quality is based on a more comprehensive view of the production system.
Peter Drucker: “Quality in a product or service is not what the supplier puts in. It is what the customer gets out and is willing to pay for.”
W. Edwards Deming: concentrating on “the efficient production of the quality that the market expects,”
Gerald M. Weinberg: “Value to some person”.
let us see what other say on this
ISO 9000: “Degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.”
Six Sigma: “Number of defects per million opportunities.”
American Society for Quality: “A subjective term for which each person has his or her own definition. In technical usage, quality can have two meanings: a. The characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs; b. A product or service free of deficiencies.”
JAA (Joint Aviation Authorities – Currently EASA) : “The totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs”
Now let me attempt my own
“Quality can be defined as the best and continuous effort of an organization or individual, to prove their capabilities to meet the expectations of those who are interested in it”
I tried to cover many of the definitions above. The interested parties can be the Organization themselves, their customers, the regulators everybody is interested parties.
I covered the needs by using the word “to meet the expectations”. customer wants value for money, or safety organization expects Profits, less defects, no complaints etc. the regulators want compliance and conformance.