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Tom Harris

Archive for October 2009

How Quality Really Works

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As good as the misconceptions surrounding Toyota make it sound, the truth is even better.

Stewart Anderson in Quality Digest’s Quality Insider 20-Oct-2009

Thanks to Stewart Anderson, both for bringing us the real story about how Toyota, famed for focus on quality, actually goes about doing it. Put aside for a moment what you know about ISO, QMS, metrics etc and read the carefully crafted wisdom of experience. How quality really works at Toyota. And yes, you really can apply these ideas elsewhere, even in software development.

All quotes are from the linked article by Stewart Anderson.

Toyota’s basic pattern for improving a process is based on a simple three-part model:

  1. Understanding the current condition.
  2. Developing and defining a target condition.
  3. Understanding and tackling problems which need to be overcome to move from the current condition to the target condition.

This model has learning at its heart [to identify] actions to solve problems in the current condition.

The primary responsibility [of the team leader] is to monitor the process, ensure that standard work is being followed, and coach and mentor the work team in improving the process. Team leaders receive special training in process improvement and problem solving ….

To read the full article click here.

Related reading: Gemba Kaizen: A Commonsense, Low-Cost Approach to Management (my review here).

Full disclosure: My Toyota is over 15 years old and still running fine. My last car was also a Toyota.

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Written by Tom Harris

October 24, 2009 at 9:34 pm

Posted in Quality Improvement

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Automated Testing is Blind

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Automated testing is essential for test-driven development, and for regression testing. But remember:

  1. If you have a system that runs automated tests, look at the results. Leaving it on “FAIL” won’t help.
  2. Supplement with adversarial testing, to catch what only the human eye sees

Still not sure?

Okay, what test was ignored or missed before releasing this context-sensitive advertising software?

(all relevant credit to The New York Times)

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Written by Tom Harris

October 8, 2009 at 10:14 am

Posted in Testing