Did it do what it was supposed to do?

That’s not often the same as, “I did my best.”

Quality has a very specific definition: Did it meet the customer’s requirements?

Any experience, product or deliverable that meets that spec is deemed to have met the quality standard. If it doesn’t, it’s not of quality.

And so we need to begin with, “who’s it for?” because the customer might not be who we think it is.

“Was it a good wedding?” might mean, “did the host feel fully seen, empowered and celebrated?” or it might mean, “did you have fun?” or it might mean twenty other things.

The second question goes along with that, which is, “what’s it for?” This product or experience, what did the customer hire it to do? Again, being clear about this is the only way to improve what we’re doing.

Only after we answer these two questions can we dig into how to be more clear about what we’re offering and to whom, along with how we can make our work more effective and efficient.

[And then it gets complicated…]

What if there’s more than one “who”? What if instead of trying to please one customer, you have a variety of customers? Or if there are internal constituents, or non-paying entities who have a say in it?

What if you try to do it again? Which elements could be improved? Become more efficient? Have less impact on the workforce or the environment? Become more reliable?

And what if the organization is more than just a few people? Where do processes, supply chain management and systems come into play?

But we still have to begin at the beginning. Who’s it for and what’s it for?

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