Total Quality Management (TQM) was first introduced into manufacturing but, as is often the case with a functional management system, has found its way into IT. The core idea of TQM (as explained in this post by Heiko Krakau) is to “integrate the meaning of quality to every single head and to every single team and department member which is part of the organization.” As one could expect, this is much easier to say than it is to do.
However, Krakau posits that there are some unique similarities between TQM and agile methods. In particular, the Agile Manifesto's twelve agile principles and four agile values share similarities with the fourteen “Principles of Transformation” found in TQM:
An example: Deming claims “Eliminate numerical quotas for the work force and eliminate numerical goals for people in management” … Not only the followers of the vision of [agile]are spotting one of the most famous agile values: “Responding to change over following a plan”. The abstract vision of both is the same: It is bad practice to solve complex tasks with inflexible and decreed scheduling, it is rather a question of creativity. To prevent chaos a plan is required, of course, but the responding to change and to have the chance to react flexible to change even in the microcosm of a project is important.
Krakau concludes that agile methodologies and TQM are able to work side-by-side in order to fulfill the needs of IT and the customers it serves, creating the ability for total quality management and more successful projects.