What is a defect?

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So many people debate a topic without first agreeing on the scope or meaning of the topic. As a management consultant, I believe that my role is to ask the “stupid question”.

So here is my stupid question to consider … What is a defect? I am not looking for answers but simply highlighting the fact that within any given organization there are differences of opinion about the nature of defects. In many cases the discussion of defects is defensive as people or organizations look to avoid responsibility for defects by denying their existence or deflecting blame to another group.

This is the human side of defect management which is difficult to address with scientific methods. Successful defects management must define a defect and use scientific methods to define and measure defects. If the information is used to punish individuals or groups, they will manipulate the measurement process and confuse the results.

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