Quality Function Deployment In A Nutshell

Quality Function Deployment (QFD) is a total quality management tool that systematically develops the needs and expectations of customers. Quality Function Deployment was developed by the Mitsubishi Corporation for defining shipbuilding requirements in the late 1960s. 

Understanding Quality Function Deployment

Given that ship construction is an enormously expensive process, Mitsubishi realized the importance of building a product to suit customer needs.

QFD was later adopted by General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler, shortening design cycles and reducing the number of employees required during the design process. These companies were also the first to introduce a customer-centric focus to the car manufacturing industry – moving away from a fixation with the bottom line. In so doing, domestic vehicle sales increased on the back of greater innovation and customer satisfaction.

Implementing Quality Function Deployment

QFD is a four-phase process describing activities throughout the product development cycle.

Each phase is accompanied by a matrix called the House of Quality. This matrix translates customer needs to the design requirements for each system, sub-system, and component.

With this in mind, here is a list of the four phases:

  1. Product definition. QFD begins with the business implementing a Voice of the Customer (VoC) methodology to describe customer needs in the context of product specifications. VoC may include the gathering of information through focus groups, surveys, interviews, or other means. Sometimes, product definition will also incorporate competitor products. 
  2. Product development (design). Here, the product team will take priority product specifications and translate them into assembly characteristics. They will also define the functional requirements for each.
  3. Process development. Based on product and component specifications, manufacturing and assembly processes are designed. The process flow is developed and important process characteristics are identified.
  4. Process quality control. To ensure that characteristics are met, QFD advocates the development of controls, inspections, and tests.

Using the House of Quality matrix

Prioritising the most important customer needs is an integral part of QFD. This is achieved via the aforementioned House of Quality matrix.

To use the matrix, follow these steps:

  1. Add customer needs (based on research) on the left hand side of the matrix. For a company developing a new smartphone, needs may encompass size, battery life, camera quality, and weight. Assign customer ratings to each feature conducted through quantitative research using a scale of 1 to 5. Then, calculate the percentage importance for each feature by dividing the rating by the total of all ratings.
  2. Add design requirements. Along the top of the House of Quality, add a horizontal row of design requirements for each feature. Examples for a smartphone may include operating system, battery size, and cost of production.
  3. Determine the strength of the relationship between design requirements and customer needs. Strength is rated as either Strong (9), Medium (3), or Weak (1). For example, a customer preference for long battery life has a strong relationship to weight but a weak relationship to camera resolution. For each feature, calculate the importance rating by multiplying the percentage importance by the relationship score. To determine which features the product team should work on first, divide the importance rating of one feature by the sum of all importance ratings.
  4. Add competitor research. This means determining how competitors currently rank for each of the prioritized needs determined in the previous steps. Using this information, product teams can quickly see features competitors have overlooked or that are being under served. Note that the competitive assessment does not impact on importance ratings. Rather, they are intended to serve as an additional layer of analysis.

Key takeaways:

  • Quality Function Deployment is a systematic quality management tool that focuses on designing features and products according to customer needs.
  • Quality Function Deployment is based on four phases that guide design during the product development cycle: product definition, product development, process development, and process quality control.
  • Feature prioritization is integral to Quality Function Deployment. Using quantitative research and competitor analysis, product teams can use the House of Quality matrix to accurately prioritize product features.

Connected Agile Frameworks


AIOps is the application of artificial intelligence to IT operations. It has become particularly useful for modern IT management in hybridized, distributed, and dynamic environments. AIOps has become a key operational component of modern digital-based organizations, built around software and algorithms.

Agile Methodology

Agile started as a lightweight development method compared to heavyweight software development, which is the core paradigm of the previous decades of software development. By 2001 the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was born as a set of principles that defined the new paradigm for software development as a continuous iteration. This would also influence the way of doing business.

Agile Project Management

Agile project management (APM) is a strategy that breaks large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. In the APM methodology, each project is completed in small sections – often referred to as iterations. Each iteration is completed according to its project life cycle, beginning with the initial design and progressing to testing and then quality assurance.

Agile Modeling

Agile Modeling (AM) is a methodology for modeling and documenting software-based systems. Agile Modeling is critical to the rapid and continuous delivery of software. It is a collection of values, principles, and practices that guide effective, lightweight software modeling.

Agile Business Analysis

Agile Business Analysis (AgileBA) is certification in the form of guidance and training for business analysts seeking to work in agile environments. To support this shift, AgileBA also helps the business analyst relate Agile projects to a wider organizational mission or strategy. To ensure that analysts have the necessary skills and expertise, AgileBA certification was developed.

Business Model Innovation

Business model innovation is about increasing the success of an organization with existing products and technologies by crafting a compelling value proposition able to propel a new business model to scale up customers and create a lasting competitive advantage. And it all starts by mastering the key customers.

Continuous Innovation

That is a process that requires a continuous feedback loop to develop a valuable product and build a viable business model. Continuous innovation is a mindset where products and services are designed and delivered to tune them around the customers’ problem and not the technical solution of its founders.

Design Sprint

A design sprint is a proven five-day process where critical business questions are answered through speedy design and prototyping, focusing on the end-user. A design sprint starts with a weekly challenge that should finish with a prototype, test at the end, and therefore a lesson learned to be iterated.

Design Thinking

Tim Brown, Executive Chair of IDEO, defined design thinking as “a human-centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology, and the requirements for business success.” Therefore, desirability, feasibility, and viability are balanced to solve critical problems.


DevOps refers to a series of practices performed to perform automated software development processes. It is a conjugation of the term “development” and “operations” to emphasize how functions integrate across IT teams. DevOps strategies promote seamless building, testing, and deployment of products. It aims to bridge a gap between development and operations teams to streamline the development altogether.

Dual Track Agile

Product discovery is a critical part of agile methodologies, as its aim is to ensure that products customers love are built. Product discovery involves learning through a raft of methods, including design thinking, lean start-up, and A/B testing to name a few. Dual Track Agile is an agile methodology containing two separate tracks: the “discovery” track and the “delivery” track.

Feature-Driven Development

Feature-Driven Development is a pragmatic software process that is client and architecture-centric. Feature-Driven Development (FDD) is an agile software development model that organizes workflow according to which features need to be developed next.

eXtreme Programming

eXtreme Programming was developed in the late 1990s by Ken Beck, Ron Jeffries, and Ward Cunningham. During this time, the trio was working on the Chrysler Comprehensive Compensation System (C3) to help manage the company payroll system. eXtreme Programming (XP) is a software development methodology. It is designed to improve software quality and the ability of software to adapt to changing customer needs.

Lean vs. Agile

The Agile methodology has been primarily thought of for software development (and other business disciplines have also adopted it). Lean thinking is a process improvement technique where teams prioritize the value streams to improve it continuously. Both methodologies look at the customer as the key driver to improvement and waste reduction. Both methodologies look at improvement as something continuous.

Lean Startup

A startup company is a high-tech business that tries to build a scalable business model in tech-driven industries. A startup company usually follows a lean methodology, where continuous innovation, driven by built-in viral loops is the rule. Thus, driving growth and building network effects as a consequence of this strategy.


Kanban is a lean manufacturing framework first developed by Toyota in the late 1940s. The Kanban framework is a means of visualizing work as it moves through identifying potential bottlenecks. It does that through a process called just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing to optimize engineering processes, speed up manufacturing products, and improve the go-to-market strategy.

Rapid Application Development

RAD was first introduced by author and consultant James Martin in 1991. Martin recognized and then took advantage of the endless malleability of software in designing development models. Rapid Application Development (RAD) is a methodology focusing on delivering rapidly through continuous feedback and frequent iterations.

Scaled Agile

Scaled Agile Lean Development (ScALeD) helps businesses discover a balanced approach to agile transition and scaling questions. The ScALed approach helps businesses successfully respond to change. Inspired by a combination of lean and agile values, ScALed is practitioner-based and can be completed through various agile frameworks and practices.

Spotify Model

The Spotify Model is an autonomous approach to scaling agile, focusing on culture communication, accountability, and quality. The Spotify model was first recognized in 2012 after Henrik Kniberg, and Anders Ivarsson released a white paper detailing how streaming company Spotify approached agility. Therefore, the Spotify model represents an evolution of agile.

Test-Driven Development

As the name suggests, TDD is a test-driven technique for delivering high-quality software rapidly and sustainably. It is an iterative approach based on the idea that a failing test should be written before any code for a feature or function is written. Test-Driven Development (TDD) is an approach to software development that relies on very short development cycles.


Timeboxing is a simple yet powerful time-management technique for improving productivity. Timeboxing describes the process of proactively scheduling a block of time to spend on a task in the future. It was first described by author James Martin in a book about agile software development.


Scrum is a methodology co-created by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland for effective team collaboration on complex products. Scrum was primarily thought for software development projects to deliver new software capability every 2-4 weeks. It is a sub-group of agile also used in project management to improve startups’ productivity.

Scrum Anti-Patterns

Scrum anti-patterns describe any attractive, easy-to-implement solution that ultimately makes a problem worse. Therefore, these are the practice not to follow to prevent issues from emerging. Some classic examples of scrum anti-patterns comprise absent product owners, pre-assigned tickets (making individuals work in isolation), and discounting retrospectives (where review meetings are not useful to really make improvements).

Scrum At Scale

Scrum at Scale (Scrum@Scale) is a framework that Scrum teams use to address complex problems and deliver high-value products. Scrum at Scale was created through a joint venture between the Scrum Alliance and Scrum Inc. The joint venture was overseen by Jeff Sutherland, a co-creator of Scrum and one of the principal authors of the Agile Manifesto.

Read Also: Business Models Guide, Sumo Logic Business Model, Snowflake

InnovationAgile MethodologyLean StartupBusiness Model InnovationProject Management.

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