The Psychology of Quality and More
Tools have no value until they are used, so in order to identify those that may be useful in quality improvement and problem solving, the applications where they might be used must first be recognized and understood.
This chapter describes a general framework that can be used for both quality improvement and problem solving, and from this identifies applications where the tools described in this book may be used.
Quality improvement and general problem solving both address similar situations where what is (or is not) happening is less than desirable. In either case, the aim is to rectify the situation.
A major difference between the approaches taken is that quality improvement activities tend to be organized and part of a larger program, whilst problem solving is usually more reactive and ad hoc.
Despite these differences, the similarity in aim means that a similar approach can be taken to both situations, although in practice the immediacy of general problem solving may mean that a more abbreviated (and consequently less certain) approach may be taken. Nevertheless, if available tools are understood, then situations where they can be usefully applied may be identified.
A way of viewing any problem is to consider everything that is done as a process, and that quality improvement or problem solving is simply a matter of identifying and improving the (formal or informal) processes in question (Chapter 4 discusses processes in greater detail).
Quality improvement and problem solving can thus both be treated as process improvement activities, and a common approach can be used for either activity.
Individual process improvement activities may be carried out as projects, using a structured approach to achieve specific objectives. This approach is typically embodied in a framework which provides guidelines for repeatable and reliable projects.
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