Quality is bureaucracy: it bridles creativity.
What do you think about above statement?
You can agree the Quality brindles the personal creativity even if different reasons and shading.
Or, perhaps you think that It's false: this is just an alibi for those who want to avoid rules.
At least you can assert that It depends on how Quality is interpreted and implemented.
As leader of a Quality Project you might expect me to defend all Quality Systems.
On the contrary I agree there must be a valid reason if often the perception of Quality is linked with bureaucracy.
Could be sometimes companies require and obtain the "Quality Certification" only to put the Certification Logo in their web-site and their invoice forms.
Of course, the consequence of this kind of approach can be summarized by saying that, in this case what you really do and what you have documented differ. Therefore, documentation is bureaucracy - just piece of papers.
On the other hand you can find people oriented to the formal application of rules rather than interested in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of business processes.
I mean, for instance, the proliferation of complex forms to be filled in without any (or with poor) consideration of resources to be used and the possible benefits.
Another example of the wrong approach is an internal audit that becomes a wild west gunfight between the Good Guy and the Bad Guy (do you remember the western film High Noon starred by Gary Cooper and Ian MacDonald?).
So, my personal answer to the question "Is Quality just bureaucracy?" is...."It depends".
As I said during my Workshops, the fruit of the Quality is tasty but it can be difficult to remove the peel to get to the fruit.
For sure, in some way, you can obtain from the Certifying Body the formal stamp of Certification, but please be careful that you are not ignoring the purposes of the Quality standards.
Indeed the responses I received to my questionnaire are interesting because 75% of colleagues answered "No" or "it depends" against only 25% who responded that “quality is bureaucracy”.
The result is quite good because many employees involved were approaching the Quality Management System for the first time (i.e., Accounting, Legal and ICT departments) and further investigation was provided before the training.