You take out your phone and try to load an app, the app doesn’t load and the phone freezes up. If you’re like me, you get frustrated with the phone or the app and don’t think about all the times in the past when it worked flawlessly. That’s because quality is often taken for granted until the user is faced with its absence. Moreover, quality is not easily attained. It is difficult to create something that can be considered high quality but if you to start actively thinking about and appreciating quality work, and implementing it in what you do, you may find a deeper appreciation for your own work, and your clients, boss, fans will do the same.
What is Quality?
This question is simple enough, but the answer? Well, that depends on whom you’re asking. To me, quality (specifically high quality) is what separates the average from the exceptional. Quality takes the experience of interacting with something whether that be looking at, touching, playing with, reading, etc., and makes it the best possible version of that experience that you can have. In that sense, I like to think of quality as the main signifier excellence.
If we define quality in this way and practice sustained quality to this level with whatever work we do, then we will ultimately succeed in building trust and the brand’s reputation. To show you the importance of reputation, picture this. You’re offered a free car but you must choose between two options. They are both luxury sedans, with all the same features and equal specs; the only difference is the manufacturer: one being a Mercedes and the other a Kia. They are both excellent options and fantastic cars, but most people will choose the Mercedes because they have built their reputation through their high-quality work.
With that said, I want to issue a challenge. Whatever you work on next, make quality a key focus. To make this easier try and follow these three steps:
- Set up a quality assurance process – The main point here is that you separate your quality process from the actual work. Whenever possible have a friend or coworker review your work and provide feedback. If that isn’t an option, just take some time away from the work and come back to try and find areas of improvement and fix any mistakes you’ve made.
- Focus on quality throughout, not at the end – It’s important that you check your work throughout instead of waiting until the end. If you wait until the end you may miss an issue that could have been fixed earlier, and usually, mistakes that are not caught until later tend to be more costly.
- Do not cheat or cut the process – It can be easy to justify cutting out the quality review process due to time or budget, but sticking to this process is exactly what gets you to that Mercedes level. In order to produce high-quality work, we must take the time to test what we produce.
If you can follow these steps and make an effort to create something that is truly your best, you’ll experience lasting change in the way you look at and deliver your own work. Your next project will have to either meet or exceed that level and, as we’ve discussed, this will lead to success in the form of happier clients, new business, and your own personal career growth.