The University Record, February 8, 1993

The M-Quality approach is based on seven steps to take in analyzing a problem and seeking solutions. In many cases, these steps already are being taken by us in our daily work.

1. Define the project

—Define the problem in terms of a gap between what is and what should be.

—Document why it is important to work on this particular problem.

—Determine what data will be used to measure progress.

2. Study the current situation

—Collect baseline data and plot them.

—Develop flowcharts of the processes.

—Provide sketches or visual aids.

—Identify variables that might have a bearing on the problem.

—Design data collection instruments.

—Collect data and summarize what has been learned about the variables’ effects on the problem.

—Determine what additional information would be helpful.

3. Analyze the potential causes

—Determine potential causes of the current conditions.

—Determine if more data are needed.

—If possible, verify the causes through observation or by controlling variables.

4. Implement a solution

—Develop a list of solutions to be considered.

—Decide which solutions should be tried.

—Determine how the preferred solution will be implemented.

—Implement the preferred solution.

5. Check the results

—Determine whether the actions in Step 4 were effective.

—Describe any deviations from the plan and what was learned.

6. Standardize the improvement

—Institutionalize the improvement.

—Determine whether the improvement should be applied elsewhere.

7. Establish future plans

—Determine plans for the future—should the gap be narrowed further and if so, how should the project be approached and who should be involved.

—Summarize what was learned about the team experience and make recommendations for future project teams.