Quality improvement takes dedication, time, and resources. With this being the case, many find myriad excuses to hold off on quality improvement efforts until the very end, usually to the detriment of their organization.

Being able to offer quality products and services to your customers needs to be a primary focus of your business. When issues arise, delaying quality improvement only serves to minimize how effective the improvement efforts will actually be.

Overview: What is quality procrastination?

Quality procrastination can be defined as delaying quality improvement measures until the very end of a process.

3 drawbacks of quality procrastination

There are some clear drawbacks to quality procrastination that should not be overlooked:

1. Prevents thoroughness

Delaying quality improvement efforts until the last minute creates a situation where workers will have to rush through the efforts and limit how thorough those efforts can be.

2. Minimizes the chance for the success of the quality improvement

Real quality improvement efforts take a significant amount of time and research before implementation. Waiting until the final possible moment before launching the effort is only marginally better than not doing the quality improvement project at all.

3. Overly taxing on staff

Rushing to implement quality improvement efforts puts extra strain on your staff and can lead to fatigue or illness.

Why is quality procrastination important to understand?

Understanding quality procrastination is important for the following reasons:

Preventing your organization from shoddy improvement efforts

By understanding quality procrastination and its drawbacks, you are less likely to engage in last-minute improvement efforts that could be detrimental to your business.


If you understand how quality procrastination can actually hurt your business, you can keep up the valued trust of your staff and customers.

True quality

By understanding quality procrastination, you know that true quality improvement comes from research, care, and following a thorough, well-reasoned process.

An industry example of quality procrastination

A manufacturing plant has received word that a part needs adjustment before the next round of production. The head of the plant puts off any quality improvement efforts until right before the production deadline. The outcome of this is that the employees have to work overtime in order to make the necessary adjustments in time for the deadline. They also end up having to rush through the adjustments, leading to a lack of confidence that the adjustment made may not be up to par.

3 best practices when thinking about quality procrastination

Here are some key practices to keep in mind when it comes to quality procrastination:

1. Adequate testing

Make it part of your company’s culture to do as much testing as possible early, particularly during phases like the design stage. This will save you time and money in the long run and can help prevent the inclination to procrastinate on quality improvement efforts later.

2. Do not shortcut quality

Quality procrastination and then rushing improvement efforts should be avoided.

3. Put in the necessary time

Put in all the time that you need at the start of a project to make sure that potential issues have been sorted out well in advance of the final time crunch.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about quality procrastination

What are some excuses for holding off on quality improvement?

There are many excuses given for delaying quality improvement efforts. Some of them are:

· Too busy
· Lack of involvement from leadership
· Concern over leadership halting the efforts
· Shorthanded on staff
· Lack of funds
· Near completion of stay with the organization
· Pessimism about the system’s ability to change
· Job security
· Failure of prior quality improvement efforts
· Things seem to be going just fine

How do the 5 Whys relate to quality procrastination?

They can help in determining what the root causes are for holding off on quality improvement and not just the given excuses.

Is quality procrastination dangerous?

It can be. Not only is it rushing quality improvement, which could lead to further issues with products that could be dangerous for customers, but it also puts employees and machines under tremendous strain, which could lead to illness or injury.

Avoid quality procrastination

There are a lot of reasons why an organization might delay its quality improvement efforts. Ultimately, though, you need to be confident that the products and services that you are providing your customers with are at a certain level of quality as well as safe. It is also imperative that you look out for the welfare of your employees. For these reasons, it is important to make sure that necessary improvements in quality are not put off until the last minute when your workers will become overworked and many problems could be accidentally overlooked. It can make the whole effort of enacting quality improvement measures for naught.

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