Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Quotation for project managers

A word from Henry Ford:

 "Quality means doing it right when no one is looking".

Thanks to Luis Coehlo at "" for this bit of wisdom.

In later years, this went on to "Quality is Job One", but then Ford lost the recipe. Now, in a resurgence of Henry's guidance, Ford is regaining the high ground, in part because of a commitment to quality, and part because of another piece of ageless advice:

Keep it simple, stupid!

Of course, simple and complex are not two sides of the same coin.  The simplist idea that gets the job done can still be quite complex.  My definition of simple is that it's the least complexity that is functionally complete and meets 'quality' measures in the large sense of the word: fitness to form, function, effectiveness, efficiency, availability, etc.

In the December 9th 2010 print edition of "The Economist", there is a great interview--"Ephiphany in Detroit"--with CEO Alan Mullaly on the quality and management turn-around at Ford.  It's certainly no secret that many of the things that made Boeing a great aircraft innovator, developer, and production house are being applied at Ford.

There's a lesson to be read about in this interview for all program managers tagged with turning around a project with quality problems. 

It's no secret that the first thing Mullaly did to get on top of quality was insist on candid discussion from his functional managers and to instill a culture of safety from prosecution if a problem werre raised.  The second thing he did was tune-in to what outside objective evaluators have to say; again, he changed the culture from defense to offense. 

So, communicating was a big stick.  There's no doubt that "communication in a commonly understood language is the key that unlocks the culture".  [This I paraphrase from the US Ambassordor to China from a recent interview on Charlie Rose]

 Bookmark this on Delicious
Are you on LinkedIn?    Share this article with your network by clicking on the link.