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Responses to: Can You Achieve Zero Defects?

July 28, 2009
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Dave Crosby responds to naysayers by commenting on whether achieving zero defects is realistic.

A few comments about zero defects:

1. Zero Defects is not a goal, it's a performance standard. With the right attitude, ability, and work environment, [meeting the zero defects performance standard] can be done. Why not? Zero defects considers the human error in attitude, ability and problem in the workplace.

2. I have experience in the food industry and [zero defects] can be done. There are quality standards by the company and by the government. All can be met. I don't know what a "perfect" turkey is, but unless you're tossing them out, you must know. Since you use them all, they must meet the quality standard.

3. A defect is any characteristic that does not conform to the requirement - the quality standard. Like the field goal example [in Dave Crosby’s podcast], the ball is between the uprights or it's not.

4. A defect is a defect, is a defect, regardless of the type of work. Some defects are more important than others, but, since quality is an absolute--you have it or you don't. Medical devices do not necessarily need tighter standards, they need to conform to the standards they have. I have an implanted defibrillator. I'm very interested in the quality of the company that made it and the guy who put it in.

5. Zero defects can be done. One does not need to make a few mistakes to show they are human.

Also, click here to listen to Dave Crosby’s Q-Cast podcast interview about his book and more about zero defects.
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Response

Posted through LinkedIn
August 17, 2009
In practice, zero defect is unachievable, especially when software is developed incrementally or in a scrum. We are supposed to make software, test it and by fixing its defects in a limited time and with limited features. I agree with Ruby that we should look zero defect as a quality philosophy, but i do not agree that system and process/methods, can lead us to zero defect, i am afraid it might cause delays and more defects in terms of schedule slippage.

Can you Achieve Zero Defects?

Posted through LinkedIn
August 17, 2009
This discussion contains a range of insightful comments, not all of which are perfectly aligned. This is what makes the field so interesting. I think a good summary would reflect this diversity.

Zero Defects

Alan Pippenger
August 19, 2009
Deming said that at some point the cost of achieving zero defects would be prohibitive. I guess you could come up with dozens of examples, like field goal kicking, where the cost? of kicking and kicking is not prohibitive, but it seems to me that in a manufacturing facility, where someone is waiting on your piece to add to his piece, it may jam up the works. Also, in the field goal kicking, what about precisely splitting the uprights, zero tolerance either side, is that not true zero defects?

Zero Defects

RD McCutcheon
August 19, 2009
Zero defects is a cultural commitment like ISO. In for a penny, in for a pound. Getting top management and workers alike to accept the commitment is tricky. Who is hedging? Who is saying that's ok for the other areas of the operation but it won't be possible here in this department?

Zero Defects

Dave Crosby
August 28, 2009
Zero Defects means that no mistakes are acceptable. It's a performance standard, and can be applied to any work. I don't know what Deming was talking about, but it's always cheaper to do it right the first time. Did he mean a few mistakes are okay? Software can contain unknown defects that show up for perhaps years after release when a user enters something that wasn't planned on in the original release. Error are not acceptable (ZD) and can be corrected. But... they shouldn't happen again. In a repetitive job, if the person can do it right once, why can't they do it right all the time?

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