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The five aspects of Total Quality Management

Total Quality Management, a management concept popularized by W.E. Deming in Japan in the 1940s, reinforces the importance of superior quality within projects of any size or type and has been making a bit of a resurgence since its most recent peak during the 1980s.

For a TQM program to be successful, five major things must be in place within an organization. They are:
  1. Continuous improvement
  2. Customer satisfaction
  3. Managerial involvement
  4. Measurability; the ability to accurately measure and record quality and defects
  5. Organizational support for total quality
Through continuous improvement, production cycles are short and iterative; this allows for fixes and enhancements to be made almost immediately on the spot. Customer satisfaction is also necessary for a TQM program to work - obviously, it is not enough to simply improve processes to the point where errors are at an absolute minimum; an organization looking to refine its processes must be aware of the needs of its customers and tie those needs into the refactoring process.

Additionally, managerial involvement and an overall support system for TQM are required for the program to be successful. It is not enough to have only the front-line workers be knowledgeable in the area of total quality management - every one within the organization must be involved in an implementation of this magnitude.

Finally, there must also be an organizational support system in place for the program to work. That is, there must be a linkage between the TQM program and the financial, strategic, and the human resources aspects of the organization (and the appropriate senior-management buy-in) in order for an organization to truly reap the rewards of total quality management.

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