This is a 7-minute read that summarizes the author's frustrations with today's approach to quality, and proposes a model that characterizes quality as an intrinsic attribute rather than an add-on.
I was halfway through my career before I woke up to the fact that I didn't know what quality was. Any quality our projects enjoyed was attributable to a good team and perhaps a bit of that rare commodity, common sense. I was in good company Robert Pirsig, in his 1970's cult classic Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, concluded that quality cannot be defined. Henry Ford declared quality to be doing it right even when nobody was looking. And Mr. and Mrs. Consumer just recognized quality when they saw it!
The world currently does not seem receptive to quality. Misspellings proliferate even in the established media. Profanity is ubiquitous as it meets no resistance. Grammar is ignored, often to the point of unintelligibility. The skill of objective argument to get to the truth of a matter is in decline. The concept of checking and double-checking to ensure the validity of a fact or statement is derided.
The notion that precedent human endeavor, over previous years or possibly centuries, retains some usefulness in addressing today's problems is discarded. Safe driving is seen as secondary to keeping up with the smartphone! Oh, and jeans are worn with rips not through poverty but in thrall to delusory fashion. This is the backdrop to our cultural malaise and, just as people take their cues from the behavior of leaders, so do projects reflect the culture in which they execute.