The Many Ways the Federal Government Measures Quality

Since the introduction of Total Quality Management revolutionized the manufacturing industry, we have understood that quality is a key measure of project management success. No longer is completing a project on-time and within budget good enough. Processes must be efficient and produce an outcome that meets every specification and satisfies the customer’s need.

Although this philosophy began with manufacturing, it has spread throughout every aspect of our lives. We are consistently asked to provide, collect, and report on the quality of products, services, processes, and ideas. Let’s examine ways that this emphasis on quality is spreading throughout the Federal Government.

The Many Ways the Federal Government Measures Quality

Quality of Information

The Information Quality Act of 2000 required the Office of Management and Budget to “issue guidelines ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information (including statistical information) disseminated by the agency.” These guidelines led to the establishment of quality deadlines throughout Federal agencies. Has your agency published quality guidelines?

Quality in Healthcare

When the Affordable Care Act introduced incentives for providers and facilities to provide higher-quality healthcare, a quality rating system was established, which forced all healthcare providers and facilities to acknowledge a consumer’s ability to make choices based on the quality of care standards.

In June of 2019, President Trump issued an Executive Order designed to enable consumers to “protect patients and increase competition, innovation, and value in the healthcare system.” The order calls for the establishment of a health quality roadmap to “align and improve reporting on data and quality measures” by “establishing, adopting, and publishing common quality measurements; aligning inpatient and outpatient measures; and eliminating low-value or counterproductive measures.”

Quality Agenda

Among many other priorities, the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) identified the need to improve quality throughout the government. Specifically, it provided the following guidance to enhance Americans’ quality of life through quality in government:

  • Improve the use of data assets for decision-making and accountability by providing high quality and timely information to inform evidence-based decision-making and learning. (CAP Goal 2)
  • Align and manage the Federal workforce of the 21st Century by improving satisfaction with the quality of the services provided. (CAP Goal 4)
  • Enhance mission effectiveness by improving the quality and efficiency of critical citizen-facing services by increasing utilization of cloud-based solutions such as email and collaboration tools. (PMA, page 11)
  • Share transactional data across the Federal Government, including prices paid, terms and conditions, and other essential factors that can differentiate quality and value of products and services. (CAP Goal 7)
  • Drive mission value and improve customer experience through technology by improving IT spending data accountability and transparency to empower Federal executives to make data-driven decisions and analyze trade-offs between cost, quality, and value of IT investments. (CAP Goal 10)
  • Promote and protect the nation’s interests by ensuring aligned, effective, efficient, secure, and reciprocal processes to support a trusted Federal workforce that is empowered to produce quality decisions utilizing improved investigative and adjudicative capabilities. (CAP Goal 13)

Quality Assurance

While the PMA focuses on human capitalworkforce developmentfinancial management, and IT, the concepts presented can and do apply to every agency, organization, and business.

What quality guidelines are you bound by? How closely are they enforced? What processes do you have in place to avoid defects and system failures? How does quality assurance impact your strategic and operational decision-making processes? How do these measures affect your productivity and outcomes?

We would love to hear about your experiences with quality improvement processes. Feel free to comment below.

Written by:
Natalie Komitsky
Project & Program Management
Media Type:

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