Behavior-based quality, case study of closing the knowing-doing gap
This is a case study of a large US general contractor’s efforts to rethink and implement a new behavior-based approach to quality to achieve zero errors, zero defects, zero rework, and zero surprises. This GC has a long history of building a culture of Behavior-Based Safety and has approached quality the same way. Recognition of upstream behaviors that resulted in quality issues and unpredictable results during construction led to a focus on changing the mindset and behaviors of all project stakeholders to enable the team to achieve the intended results. While owners and designers have an indirect connection to safety results, their behavior and actions directly affect quality outcomes. Although developed independently of Quality Function Deployment (QFD), this GC’s approach is similar. Its approach focuses on understanding the customer’s expectations and what is required technically in detail from suppliers to achieve them. It focuses on understanding and describing in technical terms what are the ‘distinguishing’ features of the work from each stakeholder’s perspective, and on aligning its teams on measurable acceptance criteria to achieve customer expectations. This process for making knowledge explicit in order to agree on what quality means to the customer allows the team to fabricate and install its products correctly in such a way as to close the ‘knowing-doing’ gap that plagues most companies and projects.