Feedback on Quality Objectives

Funboi

On Holiday
There’s a “cadence”: you establish your system of processes, you decide what quality objectives you want to achieve and what to measure to give performance results. You crank the handle on the processes and take a look at the results. Did you meet your objectives? Anything need tweaking? OK, now what are you going to improve?
 

imwilliam

Involved In Discussions
SMART had been mentioned twice here and I'm not sure what to make of that.

Is there concern about whether these top-level quality objectives meet the SMART criteria or not?

Acme widgets will engage in activity it considers likely to decrease risk and increase efficiency from year to year

Acme widgets will engage in activity it considers likely to increase competence from year to year.

They're specific, they're not just calling for "improvement" but improvement in three specific areas. They're measurable qualitatively with a "yes" or "no". They seem achievable and realistic to me, not sure what an argument that they're unachievable and/or unrealistic would look like. They're time based, a year.

Is the concern/caution about the underlying activities mentioned in the objectives?

I am engaged in one activity under the competency objective, and I've completed two under the risk/efficiency objective and I think they're all necessarily more specific than the top-level objectives. They're all measurable, the activity under the competency objective is the same as the example of a class Geoffairy gave, so measurable in the qualitative sense, but the two under risk/efficiency included a quantitative measurement. They were all structured with complete by dates. I don't see any argument to be made against them being achievable or realistic.

Anyway, I think there's a point being made here, but I'm missing it.

Having said that, even if my objectives aren't SMART, isn't SMART a "should" rather than a "shall"? Did I miss the "shall"? I see value in SMART, but wouldn't I be free under the standard to decide whether it benefits or not and whether to use it or not?
 

Funboi

On Holiday
I’d suggest that “risk” isn’t “quality”. Reducing “risk” doesn’t directly equate to (increasing?) “quality”. SMART objectives are almost universally accepted as the way to address goal setting, accountability and measurable performance. Why invent something else which cannot be directly translated to quality?
 

Bev D

Heretical Statistician
Leader
Super Moderator
I view the two statements as mission statements more than goals or objectives. They are aspirational and rather subjective. ”Activities” can be weak and ineffective or strong and highly effective and both meet the two statements. If you use these as ‘missions tatements’ then each year you can decide on specific things to achieve (like establishing an online training set and getting those effected to undertake the training)

The advice to make your goals SMART is very good advice from those of us who have trod this path before and failed and succeeded. I would also add that the specific goals should 1) align with the organizations strategic needs and direction and 2) be agreed upon and accepted by those in the organization who will be responsible for achieving the goals. Even if you are a ‘one man shop’ I assume that your organization is not?
 

Jim Wynne

Leader
Admin
It's conversations like this that make me glad to be retired. All processes should have the same goal: optimization. When something's optimized, it performs as well as possible given the known constraints. No process will ever be perfect, and no amount of hand-wringing over objectives can change that. The whole "SMART" concept isn't.

We have to be able to know a process well enough to be able to recognize optimization, and accept failures to the extent that it's economically responsible to do so. It's not easy, but if it were, anyone could do it. We involve ourselves in arguments like the one where two people are being eaten by a carnivorous reptile while arguing about whether it's a crocodile or an alligator. When you live your life in zero-defect land and feel warm and fuzzy about a Cpk of 1.67 or a GR&R result of <10%, (or any other false indicators) you'll be visited by the carnivorous reptile.
 
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imwilliam

Involved In Discussions
I’d suggest that “risk” isn’t “quality”. Reducing “risk” doesn’t directly equate to (increasing?) “quality”.

What's that got to do with the price of tea in China?

I'd suggest to you that the moon isn't made of green cheese, but as far as I know you haven't argued that it is, just like as far as I know I haven't argued that risk equals quality. But I will argue that risk reduction is "relevant to conformity of products and services and to enhancement of customer satisfaction" which is what's required and sensible.

Chanting "SMART!" over and over again isn't helping . . . or making a good case for the use of it. I think the objectives are SMART, perhaps a less specific "S" than some of you would like. Is it the "M", are qualitative "M"s not allowed?

I'm guessing there's relevance in what you're saying, I'm just having a difficult time seeing it.
 

imwilliam

Involved In Discussions
I view the two statements as mission statements more than goals or objectives. They are aspirational and rather subjective. ”Activities” can be weak and ineffective or strong and highly effective and both meet the two statements. If you use these as ‘missions tatements’ then each year you can decide on specific things to achieve (like establishing an online training set and getting those effected to undertake the training)

The advice to make your goals SMART is very good advice from those of us who have trod this path before and failed and succeeded. I would also add that the specific goals should 1) align with the organizations strategic needs and direction and 2) be agreed upon and accepted by those in the organization who will be responsible for achieving the goals. Even if you are a ‘one man shop’ I assume that your organization is not?

Hello Bev,

No, I'm the only one here.

Yes, the "Activities" could be weak and ineffective or strong and highly effective. But as I write this, who am I trying to keep from engaging in "weak and ineffective" activities just to meet the objective? "Activities" also allows me to engage in multiple smaller highly effective activities, some that might be of short duration, without changing my objectives every month.

If these objectives on their own seem dodgy, I can understand that.

I think it's the underlying activities that will determine whether they're weak and ineffective or strong and highly effective. As you say, the objectives themselves allow for both.

Like I mentioned, I've finished two small "activities" and am in process on another under these objectives. So, I'll have those to show at the audit.

Thanks for your reply Bev
 

imwilliam

Involved In Discussions
It's conversations like this that make me glad to be retired. All processes should have the same goal: optimization. When something's optimized, it performs as well as possible given the known constraints. No process will ever be perfect, and no amount of hand-wringing over objectives can change that. The whole "SMART" concept isn't.

We have to be able to know a process well enough to be able to recognize optimization, and accept failures to the extent that it's economically responsible to do so. It's not east, but if it were, anyone could do it. We involve ourselves in arguments like the one where two people are being eaten by a carnivorous reptile while arguing about whether it's a crocodile or an alligator. When you live your life in zero-defect land and feel warm and fuzzy about a Cpk of 1.67 or a GR&R result of <10%, (or any other false indicators) you'll be visited by the carnivorous reptile.


I think what your describing is what I'm trying to achieve through these quality objectives. I've been here a long time and I've got a lot of little projects and tweaks I've wanted to do for a while. Those are what I want to work through using the quality objectives. Some of these "activities" are small and as I mentioned in my reply to Bev, I don't want to change quality objectives every month. Some of these projects aren't anything I'd want to advertise, and these higher-level objectives give those some cover. And I'll admit it, I don't want to over commit, sometimes I have to make parts for customers.

Thanks for your reply Jim
 
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