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Is Product Quality a real-life incentive for Corporations?

QA czars from across a myriad of industry, have had a salient moment within their career when one wonders, "does the company really care about the product quality level as much as me"? Let me answer the question that many of you may have going through your head right now.... Yes, it's an indisputable fact that QA professionals are paid to "care" about quality and to assure that it actually occurs...however, one department alone can rarely, if ever, conquer that battle (some battles are more substantial than others).  Whatever the case, it leads one to ask - does the rest of the company share in the quest to secure quality (however that is determined by the company)?  

As a Change Agent and Transformation specialist, I often revisit the goals of the division, department, and ultimately the company for any given transforming year.  Most often, the quality-based goals are only around defect count or a loosely based idea of time-to-market.  These goals are also, very targeted at the QA group, and are fairly microscopic considering the overall divisional goals....unless, production reliability is super poor.  As a Consultant, I influence, I cajole....I even protest if it means protecting my client.  But, all to often, I find that the battle for better (not best) quality is internal to the company and not with the external market (i.e.competitors).  Here's my position.   If corporations took the quality quest to the marketplace, and duked it out there - resultant would be better competition - better product....which makes happy customers and lots of revenue.  Too often, this paradigm gets circumvented by the internal battle to fight the "need" or "care" for quality.  Maybe it seems too altruistic for many cultures, or maybe it's the ever-present balancing act between budget and quality?  What's your take on Quality being a true incentive and any corporate opposes?      

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