Book Synopsis: Quality is Free

Book Synopsis: Quality is Free

Book Synopsis: Quality is Free


Quality is Free is about the art of making quality certain. The text outlines easily implemented programs, backed by actual case studies that prove how effective quality control can be. The text then gives you important tools you can use to become successful at quality control in the form of the Quality Management Maturity Grid, the Quality Improvement Program, the Make Certain Program, and the Management Style Evaluation. Crosby breaks down the text into three sections, The Understanding, The Doing, and finally The Tool, structured to lead you through all the actions required for a proper quality management program.


Making Quality Certain

In part one, The Understanding Crosby teaches that making quality certain means “Getting people to do better all the worthwhile things they ought to be doing anyway.”, it is imperative to explain quality in terms that can not be misunderstand, and that top managers are responsible for the standards of quality.

Quality May Not Be What You Think It Is

In this section, Crosby introduces The Five Erroneous Assumptions:

  1. Quality means goodness, elegance (Quality is conformance to requirements)
  2. Quality is intangible, not measurable (Quality is measured by the cost of nonconformance)
  3. The “economics of quality” are prohibitive, not relevant (Its cheaper to do things right the first time)
  4. Quality problems originate with the workers (Most problems start in planning and development stages)
  5. Quality is measured by the cost of nonconformance (Quality responsibility is shared by every department)

The Quality Management Maturity Grid

In this section Crosby mentions that changing mind sets is the hardest of management jobs, then presents the first to tool be successful at it, The Quality Management Maturity Grid. The QMMG measures your current quality systems and identifies arears needing improvement. The QMMG has five stages:

  1. Uncertainty
    1. Quality is the responsibility of the quality department
  2. Awakening
    1. A quality leader is appointed, but the emphasis is on appraisal and moving the product.
  3. Enlightenment
    1. 14 steps implemented.
  4. Wisdom
    1. Top management participates and understand quality.
  5. Certainty
    1. Quality is essential to the organization.

The Quality Improvement Program

Crosby explains Quality management is ballet, not hockey. “A ballet is deliberately designed, discussed, planned, examined, and programmed in detail before it is performed.” Crosby teaches, if properly explained people always receive quality improvement programs well and gives 14 steps that he claims, if implemented correctly, always work.

Fourteen Steps to Quality Improvement:

  1. Management commitment with an importance on defect prevention and visibility
  2. Quality improvement teams
  3. Quality measurement for each area
  4. Cost of quality evaluation by the comptroller for precise figures
  5. Quality awareness by conveying the cost of quality
  6. Corrective action to establish positive habits
  7. ad hoc committee to advocate “zero defects”
  8. Supervisor training
  9. Zero Defects Day to establish “zero defects” as the organizational standard
  10. Goal setting as teams, specific and measurable
  11. Removing the causes of defects,
  12. Genuine recognition for achievement
  13. Quality councils upgrade and improve
  14. Do it over again

The Management Style Evaluation

In chapter 9 man agent style, Crosby explains that management style that have worked in the past won’t work today, and list ten items manager can check themselves against including, listening, cooperating, helping, transmitting, creating, implementing, learning, leading, following, and pretending.

This article is an adapted sample from a synopsis paper on Quality is Free, written for Advanced Topics in Project Management (COM5451) at Florida State University, during the Spring of 2015.

Reference: Crosby, P. B. (1979). Quality is Free: The Art of Making Quality Certain. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Book Company.