Advanced Projects, Inc.


TQM Definitions

Breakthrough Thinking: A creative problem solving process that overcomes many creativity blocks. It is based on the following principles: Uniqueness, Purposes, Limited information collection, Systems, Solution-After-Next, Betterment Timeline, and People.

Betterment Timeline: A schedule for process improvement that takes into account the realities of resources and human factors in process improvement. The betterment timeline addresses the need for continual PDSA cycles.

Common-cause variation: Random variation within the capability of the system. Treating common cause variation as special cause variation degrades system performance.

Continual improvement: The quest to continually improve process and product through application of quality principles. Recognition that no system is ever perfect, and that all systems, unless improved, will degrade with time and use.

Customer: The recipient or beneficiary of the output of your work efforts, or the purchaser of your products and services. May be either internal or external.

Feedback: Communication from the customer about how the process output compares with customer expectations.

Input: Products or services obtained from others (suppliers) in order to perform our job tasks.

Measurement: The act or process of measuring to compare results to requirements. A quantitative estimate of performance.

Measurement sensor: A method or instrument, which can carry out the evaluation and state the findings in numbers, in terms of the unit of measure.

Measurement units: A defined amount of some quality feature, which permits evaluation of that feature in numbers. Physical units of measurement such as number of units, pounds, percent defective, or pages.

MORT: Management Oversight and Risk Tree. See DOE document SSDC WP-27.

Operational Definitions: Operational definitions provide the common language for process operators, customers, and suppliers to communicate. An operational definition normally has three parts:
Test method

Output: Material or information provided to others (internal or external customers).

PDSA Cycle: The Shewhart cycle or Deming Wheel of Plan, Do, Study, Act.

Process: A set of interrelated work activities that are characterized by a set of specific inputs and value-added tasks that produce a set of specific outputs.

Process owner: Coordinates the various functions and work activities at all levels of a process, has the authority or ability to make changes in the process as required, and manages the process end-to-end so as to ensure optimal overall performance.

Process step: An activity which converts one or more inputs into an output. Usually expressed as a functional verb-noun statement; e.g. assemble report, or issue request for proposal.

Profound Knowledge: Dr. W. Edwards Deming's categorization of four points, a) a working knowledge of a system, b) a theory of variation, c) the theory of knowledge, and d) psychology.

Quality: Consistently meeting customer expectations.

Root cause: Original reason for nonconformance within a process. When the root cause is removed and corrected, the nonconformance will be eliminated.

Six Sigma: The current approach to Total Quality Management, focusing on the customer and application of statistical tools to achieve defect rates better than 3.4 defects per million opportunities. This comes about from applying + six sigma bounds on a normal distribution, where the mean can vary by + 1.5 sigma.

Solution-After-Next: The solution that will be arrived at the next time you work on the problem. An 'ideal' solution.

Special-cause variation: Variation in output of a system beyond the normal statistical limits of process capability.

System: Two or more processes organized to reach an aim. A system is a network of interdependent components that work together to accomplish the aim of the system.

Tampering: Modifying a system by treating common cause variation as special cause variation. This always degrades system performance.

Total Quality Management: A management philosophy which develops all management principles and practices from the belief that continual improvement of quality is the key to success. The Deming management system, described by Dr. Deming's 14 points and the search for Profound Knowledge.