Crosby's 14 Steps for Improvement

Organizing Long Term Quality Improvement

Business man running up steps.

Use these steps to guide your organization through a large quality improvement initiative.

© iStockphoto/shironosov

Imagine that your boss has put you in charge of quality improvement in your department, and it's a big responsibility.

Quality is really suffering in some areas, so you need to make changes. However, there's so much to do that you're not sure where to start, or how to organize this initiative. At present, input errors are common, and invoices aren't being sent out on time. And people aren't responding to customer enquiries quickly enough, so you're receiving a lot of complaints.

Large-scale change initiatives can seem overwhelming unless you have a framework in place to help. In this article, we'll look at Crosby's 14 Steps for Quality Improvement, a tool that you can use to manage long-term quality improvement.


Crosby's 14 Steps for Improvement was an early tool used for quality improvement. However, things have moved on a lot in this area, and approaches like Six Sigma   may be more appropriate in many situations.

About the Tool

Philip Crosby, quality expert and founder of Philip Crosby Associates, developed his 14 Steps for Quality Improvement and published them in his 1979 book, "Quality is Free."

Crosby recognized early on that quality in an organization is everybody's responsibility, not just that of a quality control manager. He also understood that managers need a framework that they can use to guide the process of quality improvement, and manage the inevitable changes that go along with it.

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