One of the most common misconceptions is that Quality Assurance is Unmoving or at least Perceived as Unmoving. Many people believe that once Quality Assurance has set out a process it cannot be changed (ever). This came about from the approval process inherent in some companies. By the time a process or standard (for example) had been
- Identified as needed.
- Made the rounds for approvals.
- Gone up the ladder for approval (and back down) several times.
- Been enshrined in the documentation.
- Shipped out to all the divisions.
- Finally used.
there was little incentive to start on a new process or modify the existing one that had finally come into existence and was still working its way through the company.
However, nothing could be further from what was intended. Quality Assurance advocates continuous improvement and nothing is static if it can be improved. Furthermore a review and revision process is automatically built in for all processes (including the process for building processes!). It is assumed that improvement is always possible and refinement through several versions is expected, particularly for widely used standards or processes.
The problems arose as a result of the approval and promulgation process that was mandated after Quality Assurance had done its work. The improvement had already been identified and was accepted. However, the process to get it out, accepted and used was long and arduous. Most of the dissemination process has been fixed recently with the use of various communication methods but Quality Assurance is still labouring under the misconception that it is static.
In some ways, Quality Assurance anticipated many of the iterative methodologies that are now so popular. There is always room for improvement and the feedback loop runs continually. Nothing is ever really final until it is shipped and even then we can continue to make improvements for next time.