Remembering Philip B. Crosby… “Quality is free”

June 18th would have been Philip B. Crosby’s birthday. He lived through 2001 and is internationally recognized for his ideas on quality management practices.

Crosby was an engineer at heart. As a quality engineer developing the Pershing Missile, he conceptualized the idea of Zero Defects.

Quality is Free likely sits on the bookshelves of many across the world.  Although it was originally published in 1979, it remains relevant and inspiring in today’s global marketplace as well.

Crosby’s response to the quality crisis was the principle of “doing it right the first time” (DIRFT). He also included four major principles:

  1. The definition of quality is conformance to requirements (requirements meaning both the product and the customer’s requirements).
  2. The system of quality is prevention.
  3. The performance standard is zero defects (relative to requirements).
  4. The measurement of quality is the price of nonconformance. 

His belief was that an organization that established a quality program will see savings returns that more than pay off the cost of the quality program: “quality is free“.  <source>

Our favorite quotes from Crosby include:

  • “Slowness to change usually means fear of the new.”
  • “Selecting the right person for the right job is the largest part of coaching.”
  • “You don’t have to be noisy to be effective.”
  • “Being convinced no one knows the whole story is the surest way to fail.”
  • “It is always cheaper to do the job right the first time.”
  • “Good things happen when planned. Bad things happen on their own.”

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