What exactly does "quality stand-down" mean? For example,

We will have quality stand-down on the following work.

I came across this expression in the context of software quality assurance.

  • Please provide a couple of source references where the phrase is used. As is, it could mean QA will be turned off or disengaged or overridden – James Waldby - jwpat7 Nov 13 '13 at 22:42
  • Yes, it is related to Quality Assurance. – veda Nov 13 '13 at 22:46

"Quality stand-down" sounds to me like one of those nouns that sound impressive that don't actually mean anything.

This example of the process in the US Navy (in the first paragraph of the article linked to) was described as "literally stopping every major submarine torpedo work process while they reviewed their day-to-day operations and processes":


So I guess in plain English it means stopping what you're doing in order to do a time and motion study.

  • Or some other study... – J.R. Nov 15 '13 at 17:02

I believe a quality stand-down is a temporary halt in production or development to address a quality problem, often after some sort of mishap or fiasco, in the hopes of decreasing the likelihood of a repeated related failure. Here are some examples of the phrase being used in other industries:

BNI instituted a Quality Stand Down on all concrete placements after ORP identified that two pieces of rebar were missing during a placement after the pour card was signed, workers violated technical specifications by cold bending rebar protruding from the cold joint, and BNI identified that a pour card was missing drawing and specification revision numbers.1

In addition, last fall we instituted a quality stand down and conducted a top to bottom review of our quality assurance and quality control procedures and practices. We tightened adherence to our procedures to ensure that these complex machines are assembled correctly.2

Based on the results of the cause evaluation performed by Westinghouse, the apparent cause of this error was that the author and verifier of the Westinghouse analysis had an incomplete understanding of the evaluation model, coupled with a false sense of security due both to the bounding system response being essentially the same as the original response .. Corrective actions implemented or planned by Westinghouse include: quality stand-down with employees to provide lessons learned from the cause evaluation.3

In software, I would assume it means a stoppage of coding until some recently-discovered quality issues have been addressed, but the actual impact and courses of action of a quality stand-down may vary from company to company, and you haven't provided enough information to say for certain.

In any case, this is technical jargon used in the realm of project management, not often used in conversational English.


Based on the way you quoted "quality stand-down" in the title, I believe you're parsing the sentence incorrectly. You aren't going to have a thing called a "quality stand-down". Rather, an entity referred to as "quality" (likely the QA group or process, etc.) is going to "stand down"

  • As a quality assurance guy, this is the meaning I'd assume if I heard someone say this phrase. I'd then worry that I'd still be blamed if my standing down resulted in bugs getting into production. – user867 Nov 14 '13 at 2:40

We use Quality Stand-down meetings to evaluate the Root Cause of a nonconformity. Engineering, Quality and Operations meet in the Gemba (at the machine location). The machinery is halted until the Stand Down-meeting is performed and countermeasures or corrective actions are identified. It is a very effective tool to improve Quality in manufacturing organizations.

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