• Novice
  • Aware
  • Competent

What is a Quality Framework?

In the field of quality management, various writers have attempted to distil the essential characteristics of an effective quality management system. We have seen these develop over the years under a variety of approaches including circle management, management by objectives (MBO), and total quality management (TQM).

All of these processes clearly identified and refined the key elements of quality management and as a consequence, some general principles have emerged such as the:

  • Need to ensure that senior managers are committed to the program
  • Importance of all staff being involved
  • Need to monitor and manage process as a balanced scorecard.

TQM gave us an ideal framework in which to document and control what we are doing and ensure it was done across the enterprise. We recorded our processes and ensured that we followed them. However it tended to be focused on the enterprise's internal processes and not on 'world best practices'. Then input or process benchmarking was developed to enable organizations to compare their input processes, or the quality with which they manage their business.

So what are the key deliverables of a quality framework?

  • An ability to review and assess our performance against a known practice (e.g. world's best practice)
  • An ability for different individuals to come to the same conclusion
  • The repeatability of this process to enable us to monitor our variance (improvement/stability/decline) over time
  • Understand our current quality rating or status and assess this against other similar organizations from around the world
  • Use the gap between our current status and world's best practice and determine a 'best appropriate practice' (BAP) target for the organization, based on the benefits that this will bring
  • By following this BAP process and applying accurate data, the organization can prove to its stakeholders and customers that it is delivering 'best value service delivery'.

Senior managers recognize that attention to quality is essential and central, and are committed to quality in a way that other staff see as collaboration, not an imposition.

The following diagram shows the relationships between the TEAMQF elements:

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