Re: Schedule, Cost, & Quality: Pick Two

Subject: Re: Schedule, Cost, & Quality: Pick Two
From: SteveFJong -at- aol -dot- com
To: TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Sat, 13 Nov 1999 17:40:58 EST

The old saw "good, fast, cheap: pick two" sounds good, but in the quality
methodology, it doesn't hold. I got the chance to expound on this view at
some length in "The Quality Revolution and Technical Communication," a guest
column in STC Intercom (October 1997). I'll give you the Reader's Digest
version here.

"Good, fast, cheap: pick two" assumes that quality, cost, and schedule are
orthogonal. In particular, it assumes that quality has a cost and takes time.
This is the model of quality control (QC), in which inspectors look for
errors. The model says the more checks you have, the longer it takes and the
more it costs. The model would have you ask: How many QC checks ensure
optimum quality?

But there's another model, expounded by quality experts such as Deming and
Crosby: Do it right the first time. If you do things right the first time,
how much does it cost to fix errors? Nothing. How long does correction take?
No time. The key, then, is to do things right the first time.

As a professional, I like this model, because it attaches a value to the
experienced professional as the person who doesn't fumble around, but instead
knows what to do and gets right to it. In fact, when you have no time to do
things twice, hire the best writer you can!

-- Steve

Steven Jong, Documentation Team Manager ("Typo? What tpyo?")
Lightbridge, Inc., 67 South Bedford St., Burlington, MA 01803 USA
mailto:jong -at- lightbridge -dot- com -dot- nospam 781.359.4902 [voice]
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