How To Define Quality

There is a lovely story told about Steve Jobs when he was 14 years old.

One day his stepdad asked him to paint their garden fence. Steve Jobs said he set to painting the fence in the hope of having it finished in time for his Dad getting home from work at 5  pm.

He worked really hard to have the whole fence painted inside and out by 3 pm. Then he thought to himself – “I am going to give the outside of the fence a second coat of paint.

He worked extra hard to have the second coat finished just in time for his stepdad driving into the street.

He went running to his stepdad’s car:

“Dad, Dad, I’ve got the whole fence painted. I gave the inside one coat and I gave the outside two coats”.

His stepdad looked at him and said:

“Why did you only give the inside one coat?”

And Steve Jobs replied:

“But sure no one will see it”.

And his Dad’s reply?

“But we’ll see it”. 

Steve Jobs said it was the greatest lesson he took with him into business because when the engineer at Apple would come with the newly completed iPad and would say to him “Look how neat and tidy this is”, Steve Jobs said he would take off the back cover and if he saw one little component wasn’t straight he would say to the engineer:

“But this component is crooked”….

And the engineer’s response:

“But sure no one will see it”.

And Steve Jobs’ response:

“But we’ll see it”.

And he made every engineer initial the inside of every iPad.

Quality is doing things right when no one is looking.

Do your team do things right when you’re not looking?