QA Management – An Oxymoron

An oxymoron is two contradictory terms that have been used in conjunction so is “QA Management” an oxymoron or is it simply contradictory? Is it possible to manage Quality Assurance for Quality Assurance or are we wasting our time trying to manage quality?

After the experiences I hear so many have, some would be tempted to say they get no where when it comes to assuring quality in their organization. They feel that their QA efforts are rebuffed or (worse) ignored. They put their heart and soul into making Quality Assurance happen, all while having absolutely no impact on the situation or organization.

Before you get too far down the path of what hasn’t happened, ask yourself the following three questions:

  1. What would have happened if you had not been there?
  2. Did the project members understand what quality was after you were done?
  3. Did you see any improvement?

If you answer yes to one or more of the above questions then you have had a positive impact and managing Quality Assurance has been effective. Sure, it might not have been as effective as you would have liked, but it has had a positive outcome and things that might have gone wrong with costs to the project have been avoided. Think in terms of risks avoided where a Risk = Probability * Impact. It is the probability of a negative event occurring along with the impact of that event (usually in financial terms) that has been avoided.

Quality Assurance Management can be a challenge but it is always worth doing and doing well. The payback is both short and long term and will benefit the project and the company.

Quality Assurance Management is watching and managing all processes. It is checking that due diligence has occurred. It is gathering up statistics to prove or disprove an assertion.

Discussion Questions

  1. Do you get asked what you do as a QA Manager?
  2. How easy is it to defend QA Management?
  3. Would you prefer to do something else somedays?

Next Week: Performance Testing

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