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Archive for the 'Voice of the Customer' Category

Blending the Voices of Disparate Customers

August 27th, 2008 by Joseph P. Merts

Choir singingSeveral months ago I published an article entitled “Who’s Your Daddy” which discussed why it is imperative to listen to the disparate (and sometimes contradictory) voices of different customers. Since that time, I have received several inquiries about the mechanics of exactly how one blends the voices of conflicting business, consumer, and regulatory groups into a single “VOC” for a Quality Function Deployment. The intent of this article is to answer those inquiries by giving an overview of the two primary processes for blending the requirements from these disparate groups, namely: “Percentage Translation” and “House of Quality Folding”.

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Category: House of Quality, Advice, Voice of the Customer, Remodeling the HOQ™, Quality Function Deployment, QFD | 1 Comment »

Saving Time by Voting Blind

May 10th, 2008 by Joseph P. Merts

businessman with his hands over his eyesThe Quality Function Deployment (QFD) process is probably the most effective methodology available for capturing and responding to the “voice of the customer”. Few people dispute the effectiveness of QFD, but many people express concerns about its efficiency. Although the tools of QFD are extremely valuable for prioritizing product and/or service development efforts, they can be arguably cumbersome. In fact, many management teams that implement a QFD process end up abandoning it after a few months due to the time requirements of following such a rigorous methodology. Although the time saved by reducing unnecessary course corrections far outweighs the additional overhead of implementing Quality Function Deployment, there is definitely a significant upfront time investiture associated with the process. However, there are several time saving procedures that QFD teams can utilize to significantly decrease the arduousness associated with the methodology. One particularly beneficial time saver is that of “voting blind”.

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Category: House of Quality, Advice, Voice of the Customer, Quality Function Deployment, QFD | 3 Comments »

Planning for Failure: HOQ vs. FMEA

April 29th, 2008 by Peter Wolfe

Chain about to breakYou’ve probably heard the old adage, “If you fail to plan, then you’re planning to fail.” That sentiment is certainly echoed in the basic principles of the Quality Function Deployment (QFD) methodology. There is another old adage concerning failure that, although not quite as recognized, is just as true: “Fail to mitigate failure and you will succeed in minimizing success.” (Okay, so it isn’t really an old adage. I just made it up. However, you have to admit, it does sound rather catchy, and it does convey the underlying precept fairly well.) This maxim (regardless of how it is worded) is similarly echoed by the tenets of Quality Function Deployment.

So then, the question arises–what is the best tool for prioritizing steps to mitigate potential failures: Failure Mode and Effects Analysis (FMEA) or the House of Quality (HOQ) tool? Coming from a Quality Function Deployment enthusiast, my answer may surprise you…

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Category: History of QFD, House of Quality, Advice, Voice of the Customer, DFSS, Quality Function Deployment, QFD, CTQ, CTC, FMEA | 18 Comments »

What’s the Use?

March 31st, 2008 by John Livingston

Swiss Army KnifeI have been asked on several occasions what industries Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is useful for. My tongue-in-cheek response to such inquiries is that “QFD is only useful for those industries that have decisions to make and customers to please”. In all seriousness, QFD is about communication and decision making, and its tools can truly be used in any industry. The House of Quality matrix, in particular, is an almost universal tool that can be used for prioritizing anything from a family budget to the complex engineering tasks of an automobile manufacturer.

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Category: House of Quality, Voice of the Customer, Quality Function Deployment, QFD | 2 Comments »

A Spoonful of QFD Helps the Agile Go Down

November 21st, 2007 by John Livingston

Imagine for a moment that you are the president of a successful software development company. Your company is doing reasonably well from a sales perspective, but you have been dealing with some sizable challenges in terms of your development team hitting their scheduled release dates on time. (The past 2 releases have been late by more than six months a piece.) Then one day your development manager comes into your office droning on about the success of something called “Agile” development methodologies. He goes on to tell you that he knows how to eliminate the slippages that he and his team have experienced in relation to your two year development plan: simply do away with the two year development plan. Needless to say, the conversation would probably not go well. However, there is a sweetener that can assist executive management in swallowing the sometimes bitter pill of “Agile” development—and that sweetener bears the name “QFD“.

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Category: Voice of the Customer, Agile, Quality Function Deployment, QFD, Software | 2 Comments »

Who’s Your Daddy?

July 19th, 2007 by Joseph P. Merts

Most people believe that the first step in creating a successful QFD is to identify the list of customer requirements. Although documenting customer requirements is key to ensuring that the “voice of the customer” is heard, there is actually an even more crucial first step. The very first task to complete when creating a Quality Function Deployment is to identify exactly who your “daddy” (i.e. customer) really is, and that task isn’t as easy as you might think.

Numerous QFDs fail (i.e. cease to be used or to be useful) because too many features are added to the relevant product or service in a manner that bypasses the QFD altogether. These assignments are made in a manner that circumvents the system in order to address “urgent” requirements. Unfortunately, as soon as a window is opened for non-customers to push “urgent” matters to the front of the queue, they stop using methodical processes for prioritization altogether. Soon, every pet project or feature gets identified as “urgent” or “imperative”, and the QFD falls to the wayside with the voice of the customer close behind.

This may seem like an easy problem to fix—all that needs to be done is to make sure that these “urgent” items get added to the QFD like every other feature or requirement. If needed, these items can be evaluated and rated before other requirements, but they won’t be worked on until they merit attention. The problem is that many of these urgent items would never warrant attention, according to the QFD, because the wrong customer was identified in the first place.

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Category: Advice, Voice of the Customer, Quality Function Deployment, QFD | 4 Comments »