The tools presented in this booklet can help ROW divisions improve performance, increase customer satisfaction, and develop and implement successful quality management programs. This is not a "one-size-fits-all" proposition, as management programs must necessarily be unique to reflect the diverse needs of each agency. However, these tools can be adapted to suit individual agency needs. The six key components are as follows:
(1) Commitment. Commitment is the most important ingredient. It demands that everyone get involved in the quality improvement process, especially senior management. Management should create a policy statement declaring its agreement with and commitment to the principles and objectives of the quality management program.
(2) Evaluation of processes. A crucial aspect of the quality improvement process is understanding how and why a function or series of functions are performed and how they relate to the entire process. A quality steering committee consisting mainly of senior management should lead this effort. The goal is to produce clearly identified work processes and evaluate each one.
(3) Communication. Sharing information is vital to an agency's success, particularly during a transition involving quality improvement and work process changes.
(4) Training. Based on process evaluation and resulting process modifications, the ROW division should train employees on the new procedures. This training should include internal as well as external training programs.
(5) Continuous improvement measurement. Quality is a moving target. Performance indicators used to measure improvement must be assessed on a regular basis. Evaluating data will produce results. Feedback comments can and should lead to actions to modify or improve a process.
(6) Actions based on measurement results. Success of any management system ultimately depends on how one uses the results of performance measures, quality assurance audits, and other quality improvement processes in place. Quality must be a continuous process that offers no real closure--and is perpetuated beyond project completion.