Quality Assurance is frequently confused with Quality Control (Software Testing) and many people will sell Quality Assurance Solutions and provide Software Testing. Quality Assurance refers to methodologies and processes that try to avoid errors and mistakes in the first place and getting it right the first time.
It is also confused (as we have mentioned in the past) with slowing down the process and stopping projects from completing. If this occurs then the Quality Assurance is being implemented at the wrong level. We need to take a step back and look at the overall process to determine where the impediments to completion are occurring and fix those problems. Quality Assurance (properly applied) gets projects done faster and better.
So what does, ‘Right the First Time’ mean in practical applications.
The following is a partial list:
- It means determining with some degree of accuracy what we are trying to do in this project.
- It means recording, in a format that can be distributed, some details of how that solution is going to look on completion. These are frequently referred to as requirements.
- It means creating a solution that properly reflects what we want at the end and ensuing that any deviations are understood and accepted.
- It means going back at each stage and making sure we have it right before we move forward.
What does it not mean? (Also a partial list)
- It does not mean bringing everyone in to review everything all the time so that everyone gets inured to any errors.
- It does not mean mean putting in Checkpoints that bring the project to a complete halt. Checkpoints, properly implemented, are fine.
- It does not mean letting everyone do what they want and then piecing it together afterwards and hoping it works
Your Quality Assurance processes can mean the difference between success and failure; profitability and loss; company survival and the end of the organization.
Step 1: Make a small diagram of the process you follow in your projects. It should not fill more than one page and is only a high level hand drawn sketch. That provides a high level framework. Next week Step 2.