House of Quality: An IS Quality Tool (Extension from Quality Assurance Model)

25 Feb

The House of Quality Matrix (HOQ) is a tool that can be adapted to systematic planning of improvements in IS Quality process. The HOQ tool translates customer requirements, based on a customer questionnaire and benchmarking data, into an appropriate number of engineering targets to be met by the IS system. The HOQ matrix is a high level view of how the IS system meets the needs of the IS system customers. It becomes the nerve centre and the engine that drives the entire IS Quality system process. Looking specifically at the security of the IS system and adapting it to the HOQ.


The “Voice of the Customers” (Section1)
The initial steps in forming the House of Quality include determining, clarifying, and specifying the
Customer Requirements (Security Column). These steps lay the foundation for a clearly defined means of comparing the fit between customers’ needs and IS system specifications. The Voice of the customer is captured by listing the ranked customer needs from 1-10 (Importance Column):

 Security Table.jpg

The customer needs are then copied by the tool into SECTION_1 of the HOQ matrix (shown in blue box outline).

Security Table.jpg

Rating the IS Functional Requirements (Section 2)
Customers buy benefits and the IS offers features. How well the customers’ needs are met by the IS specifications are captured by listing the features in SECTION_2 of the HOQ matrix which is done by scoring each customer requirement against each Functional Requirement. So the customer requirement “No intruders in any building” has a strong correlation (●) with the functional requirement “Biometric Access” and “Offices with badge access” but has a weak correlation ( ▽) with “Single network” functional requirement. This process is repeated for each customer requirement and each IS requirement. (○) denotes a medium relationship between customer and system requirements.

Section 2

Customer Competitive Assessment (Section 3)
The next step in the HOQ process is comparing the in-house quality system with competitive products. This comparison is completed in SECTION_3 by scoring how well each competitor meets the customer requirements. Four different competitors were added for comparison:

Section 3Direction of Improvement 

This section is used to indicate in which way a product feature can be improved, example increasing the bandwidth might improve a product or reducing the number of failures might improve a product.



This section allows us to observe the effect of making a change on all other Functional Requirements, for example decreasing the number of failures may improve one aspect of the  product but decrease negatively other aspects of the product such as “Cost”. In the HOQ matrix this is depicted by the pyramid like structure at the top.

Technical Competitive Assessment (Section 4)

 This section allows us to see the relative fit of the current IS Quality system compared to the customer requirements.
Any score = 1 (shown in RED) is an area of mandatory improvement. A score of 3 means satisfactory and 9 means the Functional Requirements are meeting the customer requirements. The assessment of the IS Quality system and its systematic improvement can be managed by the HOQ Matrix.

Section 4Step-by-Step Process

In the example shown above for IS security we proceed as follows.

1. For each of the IS functional Blocks (in our example the SECURITY block) we use a questionnaire to list all the ranked customer requirements.
2. We then list the product features in the Functional Requirements.
3. We then set the direction of improvement in the Direction of Improvement.
4. For each customer requirement a score is made against each functional requirement.
5. A competitive comparison with a selected number of customers is made, allowing us to see how well the IS QUALITY system is performing.
6. The scores are noted in the Technical Competitive Assessment, any score 1 or 3 are areas where the product needs to improved.
7. A target score is set for each of the technical requirements, priority being given to those areas with a low score.
8. Finally the score of the overall fit of the technical requirements against the customer needs are noted in the TOP LEVEL table. Overall score rating for security was calculated by dividing the sum of  your product points (Product row) over the total sum. This can be done for other quality sections:

Top level

A HOQ matrix can be done not only for security but also for; Database, System Design, Usability and User Interface following the same process. Customer and functional requirements will vary for each.

***Look at the excel file which provides you with template tables and HOQ matrix used for determining the Quality of your current IS***


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: