Starting Quality Assurance – Part 3

Starting Quality Assurance can be difficult when there are existing projects already on the go, new projects starting up and operations running at full speed. There never seems to be a good  time to say “We are going to launch into Quality Assurance activities and start improving our processes”.  There will always be a more important operation or project related activity that needs to be solved that takes precedence.

So, the third question we want to answer is How. Last week we discussed When we would want to start Quality Assurance and the next step is to decide How.

The quick answer is with a minimal effort and hopefully a positive Return on Our Investment. We already discussed a somewhat similar question in our blog on Quality Assurance for Startups. The argument is similar; we need something we can do alongside everything else and yet improves our ongoing processes. The only real difference is that a Startup usually lacks any processes at all while an existing organization may have lots of processes; some of which may conflict with the new processes we want to introduce. As a matter of fact that will be the biggest impediment to this process.

So the process differs a little:

  1. Identify the process that we want to implement.
  2. Identify the small steps needed to implement the change.
  3. Identify the impacted processes already in existence. This is the important difference.
  4. Plan around the existing processes or identify the small (again!) steps that are needed to change that process.
  5. Implement the dependent steps.
  6. Implement the new process steps.
  7. Measure the result.

Obviously the key concern is that we may end up with too many dependent steps that stop the new process from moving forward. We could end up changing all the other processes and never get to our desired end result. That is why it is critical to have clear measurable goals in view for all the processes that are being changed.

Next Week: Examples

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