Prioritizing Technical Requirements with a House of Quality 

As a design engineer, you’re tasked with translating vague customer statements into something technical and measurable. And you also need to identify what requirements are important: filtering the “must meet” requirements against the “should have” requirements. And, finally, you need to do this with your cross-functional team.

What if you miss something important?

It’s difficult. There is a method that we can use. Let’s talk about the House of Quality and how you can use it no matter where you work.

QFD (Quality Function Deployment) is a system that uses several matrices that follow a waterfall application, where the top-level matrix feeds into the next-level matrix. It starts with a House of Quality: customer needs against requirements.

If your company isn’t using QFD, then you’re probably not being supported to be able to do QFD for your project. That doesn’t mean that we can’t use elements of QFD. Especially the first matrix: the House of Quality.

Today’s insight to action is this: Sometimes it’s too much to start building a mansion. It’s okay not to build out the complicated House of Quality to start. We can start with the main house and the roof, and that will begin to give us insight into our concept development.  

House of Quality
Cask05 at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

House of Quality example

Cask05 at English Wikipedia, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

See this resource from ASQ that shows different types of QFD matrices:

“How to Build a House of Quality with Technical and Competitive Benchmarking.” ASQ, https://asq.org/quality-resources/house-of-quality. Accessed 7 June 2022. 

“The house of quality alone does not make QFD.” - Dr. Akao 

Tague, Nancy R. The Quality Toolbox, 2nd ed. ASQ Quality Press, 2005, pp. 310. 

History of QFD from:

Evans, James R. and William M. Lindsay. Managing for Quality and Performance Excellence, 11th ed. Cengage, 2020, pp. 313. 

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