Select Quotes from Peopleware, Part 2

Allowing the standard of quality to be set by the buyer, rather than the builder, is what we call the flight from excellence.  A market-derived quality standard seems to make good sense only as long as you ignore the effect on the builder's attitude and effectiveness.

In the long run, market-based quality costs more.  The lesson here is,

Quality, far beyond that required by the end user, is a means to higher productivity.

If you doubt that notion, imagine the following gedanken experiment: Ask one hundred people on the street what organization or culture or nation is famous for high quality.  We predict that more than half the people today would answer, "Japan."  Now ask a different hundred people what organization or culture or nation is famous for high productivity.  Again, the majority can be expected to mention, "Japan."  The nation that is an acknowledged quality leader is also known for its high productivity.

Wait a minute.  How is it possible that higher quality coexists with higher productivity?  That flies in the face of the common wisdom that adding quality to a product means you pay more to build it.  For a clue, read the words of Tajima and Matsubara, two of the most respected commentators on the Japanese phenomenon:

The trade-off between price and quality does not exist in Japan.  Rather, the idea that high quality brings on cost reduction is widely accepted.

Peopleware, pg. 21, The Flight from Excellence