If I were to ask a hundred of my peers “How did you get into quality,” I would probably hear 100 different stories (with of course some commonalities). And yet, quality is definitely a distinct set of expertise and practice.
When I try to describe my job, I often find myself breaking down what I do into categories (I’m a project manager, a trainer, a problem solver, risk manager, a facilitator, a puzzle solver, a detective, etc). some of these are professional paths on their own, others not so much.
It is for this reason that I am a huge fan of the ASQ’s Quality Body of Knowledge, as it does a good job of uniting what we do. Sure, it’s not perfect but it is an excellent framework to build an understanding of just what a quality professional can bring to the table, as well as great development path.
One of the many things I love about this is the ability to learn from folks no matter what their industry. This cross-pollination is vital to innovation. And having the QBOK there gives a framework for common discussions.
With the QBOK goes a technical knowledge bolt-on. For example, in my case pharmaceuticals (strong) and medical devices (average).
The ASQ certification board I believe gets it wrong by calling these specific technical certifications “Leadership.” There is nothing leadership centric by getting the CPGP, for example.
I think we’re better breaking these certifications into QBOK core (e.g. quality improvement associate, quality process analyst, manager of quality), specific skills (e.g. six sigma, haccp, quality auditor, reliability and calibration) and then industry specific (e.g. CPGP, biomedical auditor)
As the ASQ goes through its current transformation, I hope the leadership and members remember the strength of the QBOK, work to enshrine it in everything the organization does, and continues to refine it. This is the value of my ASQ membership.