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Quality Assurance Terms Glossary/N

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Natural Work Groups - A term used to describe teams that are organized according to a common product, customer, or service.

Networking - Developing relationships with other individuals for the purpose of sharing ideas, providing support and unifying efforts.

New Philosophy - May have several meanings, but is usually a reference to the relatively recent emphasis on quality and the management principles that must accompany it. In some cases it is meant as a reference to Deming's theory for management.

New Seven Tools aka N7
(1) Managerial tools that are used in quality improvement.
(2) In addition to the seven tools there are "newer" tqm tools that are recommended for problem-solving or planning. Some of these are: affinity diagram, force field analysis, cross-impact matrix, ripple-effect diagram or wheel, planning tree diagram, five "whys?", The data-collection checksheet, and the process-conformance checklist.

Nine Dots - A reference to the puzzle in which nine dots (three rows of three, equally spaced) are to be connected by four straight lines. Solutions require that one go "outside" the imagined box delineated by the perimeter of the dots...A difficult task for most people because they are conditioned by their training and experience. The message intended by this reference is that it is often important to get "outside" our paradigms or our typical way of viewing a situation or a problem.

Nominal Value - The stated "target" value for a characteristic of the outcome of a process...As distinguished from what the process is delivering.

Nominal Group Technique - A weighted ranking technique used by teams or small groups to narrow down a list of items.

Nonconforming Unit - A unit which does not conform to stated requirements/specification.

Nonconformity - A condition within a unit which does not conform to some specific specification/ requirement. Also commonly called a defect. Any given nonconforming unit can have the potential for more than one nonconformity.

Nonconformance - State that exists when a product, service, or material does not conform to the customer requirements or specifications.

Nonrandom Variation - Controllable variation.

Normal Curve - The familiar Normal Distribution "bell curve". The mathematical expression for the normal curve is y = (2π)-_e-x2/2. The normal curve is symmetric around the point x=0, and positive for every value of x. The area under the normal curve is unity, and the sd of the normal curve, suitably defined, is also unity.

Normal Distribution - A pattern of variation of a continuous variable continuous variable characterized by a symmetric bell-shaped curve.

Normality - When a population has a statistically normal distribution.

Normality Tests - Tests of whether a set of data is distributed in a way that is consistent with a normal distribution.

Norming - The third stage of team development, where the team becomes a cohesive unit, and interdependence, trust, and cooperation are built.

Np Chart - A chart used to monitor the number of items defective for a fixed sample size.

Null Hypothesis - In hypothesis testing, the hypothesis we wish to falsify on the basis of the data. The null hypothesis is typically that something is not present, that there is no effect, or that there is no difference between treatment and control.