Total Quality Management In The Software Industry

As total quality management has a great demand in todays software environment it is always better to understand not only this concept, but any concept with the help of a case study. In this case we have chosen American multinational technology and consulting firm which has its head office at Armonk, New York (IBM). In this case study we will try to strike an understanding of what is total quality management (TQM) and what are the essential steps to be followed to have a successful TQM implementation. We even discuss briefly about the management seven (M7) and quality seven (Q7) tools which are commonly used in TQM process. We also provide recommendation for the people to ensure success during (TQM) implementation.

IBM is a globally renowned organization which is operating over 170 destinations across the world. Today there are about 40000 employees putting their heart and soul to bring in innovative solutions to a diverse client base to encounter some of the toughest challenges in their business. IBM is not just the world’s largest IT firm it also known to bring innovation and solution for various worldly problems. It is well known for its research and development. It partners with various governments to build a smarter planet. IBM can be called as the leading information technology and services in the planet today.

It main services include:

IT services

Business consulting

Application services

Outsourcing services

Services for small and medium business(SME’s)

Software service

Asset recovery

Its main products include:



Systems & Services

Internet security


Point of scale(US)

Printing systems from info point

IBM certified pre owned equipment

Its main support includes:





Open a technical service request

Support by product

Customer support


There a range of customers from a verity of business sectors and a range of countries, few of them are listed below

Winn-Dixie Stores (US)

Tran zaps (US)

Allied Irish bank

Post bank Ag(Germany)

Japan airlines

Ps bank(Philippines)

Industrial bank of korea

IBM Qualifiers:

End to End IT Enterprise Services: Ranging from single onsite resource deployment on a time and materials basis to fully managed services of entire system areas.

Sector Expertise: Core IT sector skills, expertise and experience of working across software, Banking, Utilities, Government, Healthcare and Manufacturing, Hardware and Software..

Cost Effective Global Delivery Model: IBM provides clients with cost-effective solutions through worldwide for successful execution of project.

Service Oriented Architecture (SOA): Provides services to the clients and operates progressively.

Shows eight Web pages, different processes but same design


Industry Standard best practices: Quality initiative at ISL is driven by ISO 9001:2002, SEI CMM Level 5, SEI CMMi Level 5, SEI PCMM Level 5 backed by IBM processes and methodologies.

Technology Collaborations: In global market IMB associations created own repos and given access to all the customers.

Operational Processes:

IBM solutions main Operational process:

The main operational process that confers to the services delivery of the company can be discept in greater detail as below:

Technology Division:

Generally the development of any IT applications and services delivery project usually requires the following main iterations:

Project Planning:

The Project planning is key for any project success. This phase prioritizes the identification of potential aspects such as scheduling and developing.

Requirements Specification: The document that specifies the functional, operational, design and reference point’s requirements of the project is called requirement specific document, this document is generally put together by the inputs taken from the high level authority of the project.

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Design & Development: Design is the next step that follows after the requirement specification document is created, This is the phase where the intended features, process diagram, functional hierarchy templates and ER diagram are listed, This phase is immediately followed by the development process, developers use these design elements to develop their source code.

Integration & Testing: Integration is the process where the various modules of the project are integrated in to once system, I E code developed by various developers is put in to one place and the software is now ready to de tested , The testing process is used to test the correctness, reliability and the completeness of the software and defects and incompleteness identified in this phase are corrected by the developers and then again tested, this cycle continues until all the bugs in the software are eliminated.

Installation & Acceptance: Once the software is tested completely and all the imperfections are eliminated the next phase is the installation phase, In this phase the developed software is installed for the clients to use the software, Though this is not the last phase, once the installation is done, the project is almost complete, the final phase of the software implementation process is the User acceptance test(UAT), Here a personal or a team from the users test the application or the software to confirm that all the initial requirements laid out in the SRS document are achieved and there are not bugs in the application

Maintenance & Support: This basically depends on the agreement that the client and the development company have agreed, it may occur that the company that has developed the software is responsible for the maintenance and support or the user may hire professionals to do this job for him, any further enhancements to the software can also be added to the finished software.

The other business functions or supporting processes involved are:

Customer Services: This is an ongoing process where any suggestions and complaints or requests from the client are communicated to the development team for any further changes to the application .This process also involves providing technical assistance to the customers.

Marketing & Sales:

This is a very important aspect where any future business is generated, this team is responsible for finding new customers for the product, this team is responsible for giving demonstrations of the product in an effort to improve business. They also have the responsibility of extending the current time bound contracts to generate further business and following up with existing and new clients until the deal is sealed and the case is handed over to the technical heads.

Accounting & Finance:

All the financial aspects starting from the pricing of the product to the employee’s pay scales are handled by this department. Any audit to tax payments are carefully invoiced and documented by this department.

Human Resources:

Human resource department need to ensure the recruitment of new talent, satisfaction and retention of the existing staff, maintaining the training and learning needs of the staff and ensuring minimum wage levels and tracking the attendance of all the employees of the organization. They form the back bone of the firm in the sense that they provide the technical manpower to satisfy the client’s requirements for skills.

Literature review:

According to the Webster’s Dictionary, “quality” is “a degree of excellence; a distinguishing attribute.” That is, quality is the degree to which a product lives up to its performance, endurance, maintainability, and other attributes that a customer expects to receive from purchasing this product. In order to produce quality product, one must adopt TQM concept into one’s product development process.

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“TQM is a management technique for continuously improving the performance at every level and in every area of responsibility to ensure customer satisfaction (Schulmeyer & McManus,2007)”.

“It is a way of managing an enterprise towards achieving business excellence (Dahlgaard et al., 1998)”. TQM can be traced to the work of Dr. Edwards’s Deming and dr. Joseph M. Juran during the rebuilding of the Japanese economy in the after math of World War 2. Since American business discovered TQM in the 1980’s it has been successfully implemented in a number of well known corporation in the US and XEROX, federal express and IBM (capezio. 1995).

Deming (1986) suggested the use of statistical techniques for quality control, and hence mentioned the following principles on quality:

The Deming Management Method:

Although Walter Shewhart is considered as the founding father of statistical quality control system, W. Edwards Deming is the first one who introduced the TQM concept. Deming offered the management his fourteen points of management obligations and identified seven deadly diseases and some obstacles of TQM implementation.

The fourteen points as listed below are also known as the Deming management method [Walton, 1986].

Juran (1986) emphasizing on the vitality of both technical and managerial aspects mentioned the following aspects of quality:




“The aim of the management is to reduce the cost of mistakes, reaching a point where the total costs of quality are minimal (Juran & Gryna, 1993)”.

TQM Techniques, tools and systems

Statistical Process Control

ISO 9000 series Pareto Analysis Matrix Diagram Histograms

Tree Decision Diagram

Critical Path Analysis

Fishbone or Ishakawa Diagram

TABLE: “Hard” TQM Practices Identified in Quality Management Literature

ISO 9000 series:

The International Standards Organization (ISO) 9000 is perhaps the most popular quality improvement system. It is an international set of documents widely known as standards written by a worldwide organization known as the ISO/Technical Committee 176 (Lamprecht, 1992).

Critical path analysis (CPA). This tool is associated with managing projects. It is related to TQM because project management is critical to the implementation of quality programs within an organization (Bicheno, 1998). CPA seeks to establish, through the use of a network of arrows or nodes, a logical order of activities in terms of time and importance for the completion of a project (Bicheno).

Fishbone or Ishakawa Diagram:

This is one of the classic TQM tools called fishbone or Ishakawa diagram. The fishbone diagram is used to identify causes of a problem without using statistical methods (Bicheno, 1998; Goetsch & Davis, 1994). According to Goetsch and Davis, the fishbone diagram serves as an excellent reminder for the things that have to be done.

“Crosby (1979) defined 14 steps for quality improvement, including top and intermediate management commitment, quality measurement, evaluation of quality costs, corrective action, training, a zero-defect philosophy, objective setting and employee recognition”(Crosby, 1979) cited in (Tarí, 2005).

“The key components required to carry out the TQM process include top management commitment, employee involvement, problem-solving tools, continuous improvement and customer satisfaction, based on the work of Deming, Juran, and Crosby (Haag et al., 1996)”.

“The research by all these authors shows both strengths and weaknesses, for none of them offers the solutions to all the problems encountered by firms (Dale, 1999)”.

Total Quality Management for Software:

Process Improvement:

The TQM philosophy described above can be applied to any development process, be it product development or software development.

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The Product Development Life Cycle (PDLC):

This phase generally involves intelligence, design, choice, and review [Simon, 1977].

The System Development Life Cycle (SDLC):

This phase involves planning, analysis, design, implementation and support [Whitten and Bently, 1998].

The application of TQM to software:

Software development is a process in which the developer precisely converts the requirement specifications into software products. “It is clear that the quality of software is largely determined by the quality of the process used to develop and maintain it (Sanders & Curran, 1994)”.

“A number of authors have advocated the adoption of TQM for the development and maintenance of software systems (Rowe & Neal, 1993)”.Specific frameworks do exist for the software industry like ISO 9000 and CMM which act as stepping stone towards attaining TQM.

Software quality management:

Major quality management processes identified by Schwalbe (2004) are:

Quality planning: determining which quality standards are relevant to this specific project and deciding how these standards will be met.

Quality assurance: involves evaluating overall performance regularly to ensure conformance to the set standards. Quality audits or reviews can support this function.

Quality control: monitoring the activities and end results of the project to ensure compliance with the standards utilizing various available tools and techniques.

TQM Concepts

Total Employee Involvement Continuous Improvement Continuous Training Teamwork


Top-management Commitment and Support Democratic Management Style Customer/Citizen Satisfaction

Table: “Soft” TQM Concepts Identified in Quality Management Literature


Many of the firms implements CMM or ISO 9000 series for improvement and reach their TQM goals. For any Organization to have a successful implementation of TQM it must ensure that the majority of its employees and those part of the value chain are willing to participate and embrace the TQM philosophy before embarking on the journey. Everyone involved in the chain need to actively play participate and engage themselves in the journey to TQM realization otherwise the whole process will be hindered.

The difficulty or factors which need to be taken care off while implementing TQM:

Improper Management support

Less knowledge and improper market analysis.

Short term involvement – inability to stay on target for long

Failure to get worker input

Measuring profits in short term span

Financial problems- not possible to invest requisite amounts to bring the change

Despite the benefits TQM brings, problems have been encountered while implementation. “Firms must develop a number of components in an integrated way for successful implementation (Easton & Jarrell, 1998)”.

Future of TQM:

The new age TQM is being built upon the information contained in databases rather than on generic and research models. “Thus, TQM will be informed and shaped by customer requirements reflected in accurate data and information systems (Aurand et al., 1996)”.In summary, technology would remain the key driver of TQM through the use of IT and e-business.

The future of the TQM is being designed to address the needs of service based and SMEs, rather than on the conventional product based framework of TQM. Also there would be “fast track TQM implementation” processes as firms are trying to march ahead on the technology change front.”Thus, there is likely to be a requirement for more interdisciplinary research as the future of TQM develops (Dale et al., 2001)”.

Also, newer environmental legislation, quality standards, carbon footprint and quality-award model development related issues would be redefining the future versions of TQM.

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