Quality: An Introduction [Crafting Excellence]

[continued from Application to Shareware]

Crafting Excellence

Back in medieval times, guilds played a major role in European society. Craft guilds served to train new craft workers and pass the knowledge of an industry down from each generation to the next. A boy would begin training as an apprentice at a young age, learning the rote skills of the craft. After many years of apprenticeship, the young man would be allowed to take a test to prove his knowledge to the guild. If he passed the test, he would become a journeyman.

As a journeyman, the young man would work for a number of different masters, learning and enhancing his fine craft skills. During this time, he would begin creating one very special item to prove his abilities. This would be an arduous task, since the work had to be done in his limited spare time, and the process could take years to accomplish. When finished, this ultimate example of his craftsmanship would be presented to the guild, which could convey upon him the status of master craftsman, if the item showed sufficient craft. This was his “Masterpiece”.

Our company adopted a motto several years ago: “Nothing short of a Masterpiece.” To us, this motto is far more than a marketing slogan. It is a guiding principle, based on the ideas in this article. It represents our joint desire to do our best work on behalf of the company and our clients, and it has become imbued with meaning from shared experiences of both triumph and failure.

In practical terms, the motto says in five small words what otherwise would take much longer to say, if it could be fully expressed. When we have to make a decision regarding an issue that could affect the quality of our work, it only takes one of us to repeat the motto, and we are reminded of our goals and principles. This is certainly not a unique idea; Ford managed it in still fewer words with “Quality is Job 1.”

[continued in What Quality is Not]

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