Toward the end of last year we encountered a situation where our presence in a project was there to “Assure Quality” or that “Quality was Assured” simply by us being there. Although the comment was made somewhat in jest, it showed a misunderstanding of Quality Assurance that can lead to dire consequences. Quality Assurance is not a standard although it includes standards. It is a process and a journey (and not a destination).
Quality Assurance looks at the processes that are being used and tries to find places for improvement so that everything can be smoother. It looks for root causes of existing problems and eliminates or reduces their impact so that they no longer impact the process further along. Sometimes this is referred to as “Removing the Rocks in the Stream” so that the flow of the project is smoother. Quality Assurance also tries to anticipate other items that might impede smooth project completion and eliminate those as well. This is why it is never complete. There is likely to be improvements that will still occur and we can continue to identify those opportunitiess. Even if we can’t identify opportunities for improvement it is likely that someone in the organization can see something that can be changed. Every project is slightly different and the opportunities for improvement or to change processes are also different. If the projects are not different, then they can be turned into a standard process and there is no need for any individual improvements. That will still leave process improvement as a possibility.
It is suspected that the initial comment at the beginning of this blog was really related to Software Testing and not Quality Assurance at all. However the misconception exists.
Next Week: Quality Assurance Centre of Excellence