To our BOM, quality is a keyword that plays the significance of every work they do. “Quality” means the world to them and they devote their lives to make it better.
When I first joined PowerGate, despite knowing that quality is a core value, I did not care much about it. At that time, being an ordinary employee, to me quality was just like a beautiful girl – good to have but not necessary. I knew very well that quality was the guidelines and the goals for everything we do, but there are times where this word started to become a burden. Just like when our Admin kept pushing me to write this essay. “Urgh! I know! Stop urging me!” – I would reply every time.
Sadly, “knowing” and “doing” are two completely different things. Take the cognitive ladder for example where “knowing” curled up in the first steps, way before “understanding” and then “applying”. I realized I only “know”, yet hardly “understand” the term quality all this time! All I “know” was to make quality products, but I did not even “understand” what quality actually is, and how I can apply it to my work. Realizing how hazy my understanding of quality was, I am determined to find out the answer for myself.
So what is quality?
Let’s set aside all the academic terminology found on Google. All abstractness was more than enough for a coder like me. I want something simple, easy to understand and easy to apply. So I started rummaging through my mind for things counted as quality. There you go! I have been to a very “quality” pho restaurant in Saigon, where the noodle is cooked so delicately that pleased all my tastebuds. I was taken from surprise to surprise. It was such an unforgettable lifetime experience.
That to me is the definition of “quality” in the cuisine world, so what about at Powergate? What is our special “quality” that could wow everyone? The more I think, the more I start to see “quality” as a qualitative concept, which is difficult to define solely by words. It is true, as all the wordy definitions I came across were too general and cliché, they are not leading me to any conclusion.
When “qualitative” goes with “quantitative”, it became much easier for me to grasp the whole idea of it. Despite failing Philosophy twice during my college days, I still remember this infamous saying by Engels Friedrich: “A change in Quantity also entails a change in Quality”.
Simply put, once we have an “enough” quantity, we get quality. If so, shouldn’t I just dump the vague concept of “quality” and instead, put more effort into achieving “quantity?”
This thinking led me to a new question: So, what is Quantity?
Quantity is the amount of time you invest in your work. There is no shortcut to good quality work. Quality is the result of investing enough time to learn, to find out the optimal solution, to implement, to try, to perfect our work, etc. Doing things hastily to save time is the biggest enemy of quality.
Quantity is collaboration. “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to succeed, go together”. No one ever succeeds alone, even the best. At PowerGate, collaboration lies in the fact that all Divisions are working together smoothly, from idea creation, planning, development, maintenance to testing, all based on a very clear and coherent process. Every team member from the project leader, delivery manager, developers to quality assurance plays an indispensable role in projects. Because of that, product quality is ensured, and success comes to all of us.
Quantity is sharing. All the books I have read on happiness talked about how people feel happier when being connected with others. Did our PowerGate leaders read the same books? Because they are always so warm and friendly, just like a second family. I will always appreciate the time that we shared together. We had so much fun gathering up, practicing plays or joining team building sessions. Those were the moments I remember the most, also the moments that gave birth to many innovative and creative ideas.
Quality is customer satisfaction. The stability on which the system is running, the rate of on-time delivery or the company revenue – those numbers speak louder than anything. They are the result of tremendous effort made by the board of directors, of all the night we spent working overtime, of everyone’s expectations and determination. More than good performance, customer feedback is always the best indicator of quality for us to look back, learn, and further refine our future works to make even higher quality products.
Last but not least, quantity is having good work ethic. This is important in whichever industry you are in. As long as you put your whole heart and mind into your work, you would never allow yourself to do wrong things. That work ethic would never let you present defective products or half-hearted work to your customers. That work ethic would never let you ignore the quality just to get jobs done on time. That work ethic would never let you affect others’ work because of yours. That work ethic, that unswayed consistency will spread and turn a company into one full of dedicated and responsible employees. At this point, success is just a matter of time.
Quality and Quantity always go hand in hand. That is my point of view. If you consider a business a living body, then “quality” is the bloodstream that flows through the whole body. Without that bloodstream, the business would fall apart. As members of PowerGate, we always strive for Quality. Keeping that mindset and no difficulties can hinder us.
Yes, Quality is Vitalness.