Quality assurance and finance departments are both numbers-driven teams, but that doesn’t mean they speak the same language. Inaccurate cost and benefit estimates by both groups create obstacles to planning, financing, and implementing changes to improve quality. For example, quality assurance speaks to defects per million and complaint rate, whereas finance talks about payback, internal rate of return, and net present value.
Quality and finance often come to different conclusions when considering project priorities. By applying tools to bridge the language barrier between quality and financial numbers, consensus to fund process improvement or a complaint reduction change becomes easier. The decision tree is a tool that can help the quality and finance teams—and other stakeholders—see the benefits, or potential shortfalls, of projects both before they are launched, and again before implementation. By simply understanding that there is a difference in how stakeholders evaluate proposed improvements, and using tools to make the numbers common for all, the financial impact of quality improvement will begin to take shape and earn more merit.