"Cost of Quality" - a counter-productive term

As regular readers of this blog will know, I love measurement of IT and the importance of translating IT metrics into value terms that the business can understand.  Then why do I hate the term, "Cost of Quality?"  The answer is simple. To all but the uninitiated, "Cost of Quality" implies that Quality is a compromise for which a price has to be paid.  It implies some sort of sub-optimal outcome.  To most people (and I would include almost all of IT's customers in that group), "Quality" is a good thing - a desirable goal if you will but "Cost" is a bad thing to be removed or minimized, dare I say, "at all costs."  I would argue that "Cost" has a stronger negative connotation than "Quality" has a positive one.  Hence, the overall reaction to "Cost of Quality." While I dont hold out much hope of changing industry habits from this little blog, we need a better term to drive more interest and activity in this area at a time when IT organizations need to be striving to drive unnecessary costs out of their operations.  I like "Economies of Quality" derived from "Economies of Scale."  Do you have any better ideas? I was reminded of this particular soapbox of mine by reading a nice article by George Webb and LTC Nanette Patton in the November issue of Crosstalk magazine.  Apart from my problem with the CoQ term, Webb and Patton give a good overview of the value of CoQ analysis.  In particular, they include the diagram below which exemplifies the broader meaning of CoQ (and the need for a better term): Webb and Patton's full article from Crosstalk can be found at: Quality and Cost

Written by Michael D. Harris at 18:17
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