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Quality Managers, Inc.




While visiting the site, Yup-early Saturday morning, my Grandson, who had spent an overnight here, looked over my shoulder to see what “Grampy” was doing. What caught his eye, was the colorful emoticons, at first. I was preparing a response to a post and he was reading what I was typing. He is 8 years old. He asked, “Grampy, what are doing?” I told him I was working at home. Ha Ha. He asked, “What kind of work do you do? I kind of know what Mom and Dad and Grammy do.” I found myself pondering how to respond to an 8 year old that wants to know what we quality geeks do. After blustering to him, and myself, “I’m a Quality Manager”, (I deliberately left out “Control” or “Assurance” because even we have different opinions about that), he asked, “What’s that?”

Well, it was if I was speaking another language as I tried to equate my job with something he could grasp. It was easier when I was an Inspector. “I inspect things to make sure they were O.K.” I noticed he had a battery operated remote controlled “Quad” toy in his hand. He had momentarily taken a brief respite from testing its impact worthiness against the furniture, walls and various obstacles on the floor. I then told him that there is a group of people whose jobs it is to make sure that toy doesn’t break under normal use. That it runs a certain amount of time on the batteries. That it works just like the package says. All the little parts are checked to make sure they can be put together. There are the people who actually do “inspecting” of everything. There are people who do the “testing” that it works right. Everything, including the colorful box and the Styrofoam container, was designed by people who do “Design” work. Kind of like artists. All those things that the other people do are written down so they don’t forget how to do their job.

Now the best part: The Quality Manager, me Grampy, oversees it all to make sure that everything is done right. That everybody follows their instructions. If they don’t follow their instructions, Grampy has to find out why and fix it.
Man, am I full of myself, or what? Don’t answer that. :biglaugh:
My Grandson then said, I swear, “That sounds like a pretty important job”.

It is, you Quality Geeks, it really is!
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Jim Biz

Ahhh Grandkids - my 3 year old grandson is convinced that when Paw-pa is at the computer he is "Playing Mail" - his face lights up and he comes running to the screen when the service plays the "you've got mail" announcement.:p

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
Nice story energy!!

Question folks: do you think Quality Managers (perhaps, all Quality Folks) internalize their work better than other segments/functions?

Just thinking…..


Al Dyer


I think properly trained quality personnel have a better grasp of the importance of initiating and following requirements.

When I say properly trained I don't mean school work or degrees. I think in the quality field one needs a basic understanding of how to do thing right and follow through with the mind set.

Most people I know in the quality field that are worth their salt realize that quality is a mindset for both proffesional and personal growth.

That said, I don't believe having the word quality in your job title means that you have a "quality" mind set.

I've met quality managers that couldn't talk their way out of quality 101 course. I've also interacted with many people that don't have the word quality in their title, but have the common sense to know what is the proper way of doing things.

I don't care about degrees or wether you can operate a CMM or calibrate a micrometer, quality for the most part equals common sense.


Need that soapbox again, must have misplaced it!

Michael T

Hi Al,

I think you are correct when you say, "one needs a basic understanding of how to do thing right and follow through with the mind set". Where do you think these traits originiate? I ask this because I can see it being a kind of "chicken & egg" problem. Are quality professionals (those who are worth their salt) drawn to the profession because they were taught the right way to do things - and are inherently drawn in this direction; or - does the profession, by the very nature of the job requirements, instill a compulsion to do a better job?

Like you, I've met a number of people who claim to be in the quality profession but sure don't act or work like it.

I'd be interested in your thoughts. For that matter - I'd be interested in anyone's thoughts on the matter. For starters, here are mine...

Personally, I believe that those who really believe in the principles of Quality Management will carry this belief over from their professional life into their personal life. The concepts espoused by Deming, Senge, Scholtes, and other luminaries in the field of Quality are as applicable to the personal as the professional... and if truly internalized - the quality professional cannot help but apply them everywhere. For example, my hobby is wood working... That is my "therapy" if you will... Now, I try to do my very best on every project I undertake. Sometimes, that "very best" is simply mediocre, comparatively speaking, because I don't yet have all the tools I need to turn out "Norm Abrams" quality work. (Ya gotta love that 48" belt sander he uses!!! :biglaugh: ) However, that does not stop me from doing the very best job I can with the tools I have, and being proud of the results.


Al Dyer


I guess my age will show with this response but I will keep it short. I believe our upbringing has the most to do with the topic. I was raised to respect intelligence, to know the difference between right and wrong, and through my mother and father what a good work ethic is.

They came over from Scotland in the mid 50's and had me in 58. They had such respect for right & wrong and what the work ethic was that those traits were instilled in me.

Just as an example, when I was 19 and didn't want to go to work because I had been partying all night. My father "gently" reminded me: "Son, if your going to drink like a man, go to work like a man!"

Great man to me, he worked at Chrysler Headquarters in Highland Park as a Senior Buyer for 25 years and never missed a day.

I guess I am just saying that it goes farther back than schooling, it starts with the family.

Michael T

Hi Al,

Thanks for responding.... I love this... "I guess my age will show with this response...They came over from Scotland in the mid 50's and had me in 58...." Please don't go there.... that makes you only 5 years older than me. ;) I'm not ready to admit my age yet... :ko: Thanks for the chuckle!!!

I absolutely agree with the work ethic - my grandfather was in quality for 35 years with Roper and he is my hero. He and my father taught me that your work says everything about your character. It's funny, but I never knew my Grandpa was a QA man until his eulogy last December. He retired when I was 13 and never really talked about what he did - he just let the work he did in his shop reflect his beliefs. I would like to think that his ethics rubbed off - or perhaps were gently taught to an errant young man... :)

Thanks again for writing....


Jim Webb

It is my believe that the quality mentality is a reflection of ones upbringing, as some of you said, as well as other past experiences. I know I was instilled with doing thing right the first time from my parents. In addition when I was with the 101st Airborne in Vietnam my being a combat medic gave me the realization that other peoples lives depended on me doing a quality job. Later in life I worked at GE Medical Systems and again I was instilled with the fact that people’s lives depend on the product that we made. Now I am no longer involved with high tech product but realize that even low-tech items, such as the fire hydrants I now help produce, need to be correct to prevent people from losing their lives.

When hiring someone for a position in our quality department I like to see how they care for themselves and their personal property. If they show they care for both, it can be assumed that they have a good chance to be quality minded.

Kevin Mader

One of THE Original Covers!
Staff member
Artists really internalize their work. They live the personal lives a lot like they live the work lives. I think Quality folks tend to do the same. I even think Finance folks tend to as well. But how about other areas like Manufacturing, Shipping, or Marketing?

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