The quality journey. The starting point and paths to the future.

May 20, 2011

As the broad range of topics discussed in this blog clearly shows, Quality Management involves a wide range of issues. Perhaps the National Housing Quality Award criteria best reflects this. It covers Leadership, Strategic Planning, Performance Management, Customer Satisfaction, Human Resources, Construction Quality, Trade Relationships and Business Results.

So where to start your Quality journey?  This fishbone diagram was developed with IBACOS for the DOE Expert Meeting on Quality Management Tools and Integration for High Performance Homes in October 2010.

The diagram shows some examples of the various paths that builders have taken on their Quality journey. Some have started with a strong strategic focus on customer satisfaction which led to internal customer surveys and later 3rd party customer surveys that allowed for impartiality and the benchmarking of their scores with other builders. For others it was a focus on improving the construction process, improving construction cycle time and consistency which then expanded into reducing defects. Excellence in trade relationships, safety or high performance home building are other routes that were the starting point. Many of the NHQA winners have started with just one of these areas of focus and when they had that under control or at a point of excellence, they then focused on another area building on their success.

What has your starting point been?

What is your next area of focus?

For more resources for Quality Management and High Performance Homes tour the IBACOS website at

Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor, and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the home building industry as well as construction engineer, site manager, and in training, auditing, and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental, and safety management awards for clients. 

Denis is co-author of The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence.