Total Quality Management in the Software World
This paper examines total quality management (TQM) against the backdrop of the software world. First an overview of the background and evolution of total quality management will be detailed, then an article will be examined that discusses total quality management on an organizational level, and how it can be beneficial. After that an empirical study is reviewed that discusses the relationship between TQM and software quality. Finally this paper is wrapped up with a look at how TQM development methods should be introduced and the different ways in which is benefits both the employee and customer.
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T. and software. This will then provide a good overview of what’s involved with utilizing total quality management and what benefits a given organization and team can expect from adopting it.
The Origin and Definition of Total Quality Management
In Dale et. al.’s (1998) review article summarizing the origin and evolution of total quality management they state that TQM has many different meanings. It can vary from writer to writer and business to business. Even though there is no common definition aside from the international definition of TQM in ISO 8402(1994), there are a number of common elements that each distinct definition will always contain: customer and supplier relationships, employee involvement, and top management support. It is with that in mind that appreciating the history and origin of total quality management helps one understand what it entails as a quality management methodology and appreciate what it means for an organization and given software team.
Powell (1995) makes the points that: “TQM’s origins can be traced to 1949, when the Union of Japanese Scientists and Engineers formed a committee of scholars, engineers, and government officials devoted to improving Japanese productivity, and enhancing their post-war quality of life” and “American firms began to take serious notice of TQM around 1980.” Another commonly agreed upon origin of where total quality management came from was by substituting the term “management” for “control” (Crosby, 1979). It was to this end that Crosby argued that control doesn’t necessarily mean a zero defects level is achieved, so the term management was more appropriate for what was trying to be achieved. Another interesting aspect of TQM is that most of the theoretical developments and concept advancements have been made in the USA whereas Japan has held the initiative in terms of application (Dale, et. al., 1998). This lack of cohesion prevails into expert opinion as seen by Dale et. al.’s (1998) interviews with recognized TQM “gurus.” No consensus was found regarding the application of TQM and while a lot of the principles are agreed upon, a lot of elements of TQM are disregarded due to culture or region of origin.
TQM and the Software World
Yet even with this inability to construct a unified definition of TQM, it is still being adopted by most major industries including the software world. How TQM affects software quality, development, and whether organizations are ready to adopt the style are issues that are currently being researched. Next this paper will utilize a study (Rahman, Siddiqui, 2006) performed on an organization level to determine if the organization was ready to use total quality management methods and ideals. After that an empirical study (Nath, & Parzinger, 2000) will be discussed that goes into detail on TQM implementation factors for software development. Finally this will all be put into perspective by examining how and if total quality management is beneficial...