Monday, March 30, 2015

About quality

Everybody writes about quality these days. Agile is all about quality (in the sense of satisfying customer need). Manufacturing is all about quality (certainly in the sense of price and value), and we hear constantly about environmental quality (the trade between jobs and life quality, the latest being in the U.S. the "war on coal"; See also: Beijing air pollution).

So, it's no surprise that the early Navy nuclear program had quality at its core (no pun intended) since a quality issue would put the "diesel admirals" in charge. Thus, Admiral Rickover's words (never one to back off a fight with his fellow admirals), as quoted on Critical Uncertainties.

Quality must be considered as embracing all factors which contribute to reliable and safe operation. What is needed is an atmosphere, a subtle attitude, an uncompromising insistence on excellence, as well as a healthy pessimism in technical matters, a pessimism which offsets the normal human tendency to expect that everything will come out right and that no accident can be foreseen — and forestalled — before it happens

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