In 1987 David Garvin suggested that there are eight dimensions to quality.
These eight dimensions are performance, features, reliability, conformance, durability, serviceability, aesthetics, and perceived quality.
They are the things that make it stand out from its competitors and give it value. These are the things that differentiate your business from others in the marketplace.
Let's understand each of these dimensions:
A performance characteristic describes a product's essential function.
For a car, performance would include characteristics like millage per gallon, acceleration, handling, cruising speed etc.
For a smartphone, performance would include characteristics like clear phone reception, data speed etc.
Features are a secondary aspect of performance. They're "the bells and whistles" of products and services. They're the ones who add extra functionality to their essential functions.
For a car, features would include the built-in GPS, seat warmer, smartphone integration etc.
For a smartphone, features could include a high-resolution camera, retina or fingerprint sensor.
Sometimes it might be challenging to say which is a performance dimension and which is a feature dimension.
Reliability is the ability of a product or service to perform as expected over time.
For example, if you buy a new car, you do not expect the vehicle to break down frequently. The most commonly used reliability measurements are the Mean Time to Failure (MTTF) and Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF).
Conformance is the degree to which a product conforms to its specification.
For example, when we talk about conformance in software development, we mean that the code complies with the requirements defined by the customer.
Quality Guru Philip Crosby defines quality as conformance to requirements.
Durability is the measurement of product life. This defines the amount of use the customer could get from the product before it deteriorates.
For example, how long will your car last?
Reliability is the probability of failure over a specified period. Durability is measured by the number of cycles or the time a component will function properly as a part of the product life.
Serviceability is the ease at which a user can repair a faulty product or get it fixed.
It could be measured in terms of how much time and effort it takes to get a faulty product repaired and returned to regular use.
Aesthetics refers to the appearance of a product or service. It includes all aspects related to the physical appearance of a product, for example, the weight, colour, size, texture, packaging design etc.
8. Perceived Quality
Perceived quality is the overall opinion of the customers towards the product. It's the combined effects of factors such as brand name, price, salesperson, marketing strategy etc.
Example: When was the last time you had a positive experience with a bank?
The way we define quality is subjective. There's no single right definition for quality; each person has their own definition based on personal experiences. So, how good is our definition of quality? If someone asks about "quality," what should they look out for? We must consider these eight dimensions and develop a more objective definition of quality.