January 27, 2005

Quality Schmality

Here I am procrastinating. I should be getting on with writing a "Quality Strategy". I hate writing these sorts of documents. I suppose the idea is initially to plan, planning that the department will do all sorts of great things of great quality, and then those plans are put into practice over the next couple of years. This might sound all well and good, but from my perspective it is complete nonsense. Why? You can't often plan what you want in advance. You end up putting something down on paper that looks good, and this seems to be for two purposes:

Firstly, beforehand, the university high-ups can look at the strategy and think how wonderful it is that the department is going to do all these quality things. Secondly, after the department fails to do these things, it's a stick to beat the department with and give them less money next time, because they failed to meet their quality objectives.

This failure is because the writer of the strategy isn't clairvoyant, and everyone else in the department has different ideas about what things of quality should be done. So they get on and do their quality things, usually very well, and usually very cheaply too, because you didn't mention their plans in the quality strategy so they didn't get any funding for it.

The result? Department does things of quality, and gets penalised for it. Like I said, I hate writing quality strategies.


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