Monthly Archives: January 2016

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Interesting facts about QA

Category : Quality Management

  • Interestingly, the history of quality assurance starts in World War II, when ammunition had to be tested for performance.
    Nowadays, the end purpose of QA is to correct potential errors before the product is released.
  • Quality Assurance can be associated with every possible field of activity, from banking and education to software and consulting.
    However, each business employs different tools and methods for QA.In large enterprises, there is usually an entire QA department.
  • QA is a complex process and should be done in a systematic way.
    More often than not, an entire team of experts has to work hard to make sure that the software, or any other product, delivers the promised results.
  • Testing is extremely important and so is monitoring.
    For example, in software quality assurance, the process and methods by which the program is developed matter as much as the final result.
    It should be pointed out that testing has to be carried out in controlled conditions, based on the law of causality.For example, testers may try to replicate user
    behavior and determine what could and couldn’t happen when the product is operated in a certain way.
  • There are several regulations that clarify quality assurance. For example, in the case of SQA, these regulations are ISO 9000 and CMMI.
  • ISO 9000 was published in 1987 as part of a quality assurance system created especially for organizations that want to make sure that their products live up to customer demands.
    Meanwhile, Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is a training program for product improvement.
    Companies oftentimes display compliance with these standards to show customers that they operate on the principle of excellence.
    Needless to say, a company can only be certified once all errors are corrected.
  • In order to ensure QA, the team working on a certain project can conduct specific tests, generate bugs and thus improve product quality.
    In software development, testing bugs is an essential part of QA. Without meticulous bug tracking system like BugUp for example, entire computer systems can fail and even be compromised.
  • QA is absolutely essential; without it, not only do organizations risk releasing products that are below market standards, but also
    lose money, wasted time and not fully exploit the potential of an idea.
  • Since QA can be complicated and time-consuming, managers can streamline the process using specialized utilities.
    For example, in SQA, test case management tools and bug tracking systems ease the testers’ job and provide more accuracy.
  • Last, but not least, QA cannot be possible without documentation.Testers need to have access to comprehensive guides, manuals and lists of specifications.
    Nowadays, documentation has been made considerably easier thanks to computers, because, in the past, QA testers and engineers had to work with printed copies. You might want to read this article about application lifecycle management and its help to organizations.
    These are just 10 basic facts about QA; the process itself is quite a complex topic of discussion and can be analyzed from many technical perspectives.

Some of the biggest problems that can affect the quality or thoroughness of the process are lack of time, ineffective test plans and test cases and, of course, the improper distribution of testing tasks

Source: http://www.informup.com/


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Innovation: Bottom-Up Approach

Category : Funny , Quality Management

A toothpaste factory had a problem: they sometimes shipped empty boxes, without the tube inside. This was due to the way the production line was set up, and people with experience in designing production lines will tell you how difficult it is to have everything happen with timings so precise that every single unit coming out of it is perfect 100% of the time.

Small variations in the environment which can’t be controlled in a cost-effective fashion mean you must have quality assurance checks smartly distributed across the line so that customers all the way down to the supermarket don’t get pissed off and buy another product instead.

 

Understanding how important that was, the CEO of the toothpaste factory got the top people in the company together and they decided to start a new project, in which they would hire an external engineering company to solve their empty boxes problem, as their engineering department was already too stretched to take on any extra effort.

The project followed the usual process: budget and project sponsor allocated, RFP, third-parties selected, and six months and $8 million later they had a fantastic solution – on time, on budget, high quality and everyone in the project had a great time. They solved the problem by using high-tech precision scales that would sound a bell and flash lights whenever a toothpaste box would weigh less than it should. The line would stop, and someone had to walk over and yank the defective box out of it, pressing another button when done to re-start the line.

A while later, the CEO decides to have a look at the ROI of the project: Amazing results! No empty boxes ever shipped out of the factory after the scales were put in place. Very few customer complaints, and they were gaining market share.

“That’s some money well spent!” he says, before looking closely at the other statistics in the report. It turns out, the number of defects picked up by the scales was 0 after three weeks of production use. It should’ve been picking up at least a dozen a day, so maybe there was something wrong with the report.

He filed a bug against it, and after some investigation, the engineers come back saying the report was actually correct. The scales really weren’t picking up any defects, because all boxes that got to that point in the conveyor belt were good.

Puzzled, the CEO travels down to the factory, and walks up to the part of the line where the precision scales were installed. A few feet before the scale, there was a $20 desk fan, blowing the empty boxes off of the belt and into a bin.

“Oh, that,” says one of the workers, “One of the guys put it there ’cause he was tired of walking over there every time the bell rang.”
Source: www.thespoof.com


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ISO 9001: 2008 – 5.5.1 Clause

Category : Funny , Quality Management

This is a story about four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Somebody got angry about that, because it was Everybody’s job. Everybody thought Anybody could do it, but Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it. It ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody when Nobody did what Anybody could have done!

Paragraph 5.5.1 Responsibility and authority of ISO 9001:2008 requires “Top management shall ensure that responsibilities and authorities are defined and communicated within the organization” – to prevent this from ever happening again.

 

Source: http://www.simplyquality.org/


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How True Is The Story ?

Category : Quality Management

Once upon time, an aerospace company and a Japanese automobile company decided to have a competitive boat race. Both teams practiced hard and long to reach their peak performance. On the big day they both felt as ready as they could be.

Result: The Japanese won by a mile.

Afterwards, the aerospace team became very discouraged by the loss and morale sagged. Corporate Management decided that the reason for the crushing defeat had to be found. A “Continuous Measurable Improvement” team was set up to investigate the problem and to recommended appropriate corrective action.

Their conclusion: The problem was that the Japanese team had eight people rowing and one person steering, whereby the aerospace team had one person rowing and eight people steering. The aerospace Company Steering Committee immediately hired a consulting firm to do a study on the management structure. After some time and millions of dollars, the consulting firm concluded that “Too many people were steering and not enough rowing!”

To prevent losing to the Japanese again next year, the team’s management structure was totally reorganized to four Steering Managers, three Area Steering Managers, one Staff Steering Manager and a new performance system for the person rowing the boat to give him more incentive to work harder. “We must give him empowerment and enrichment. That should accomplish our Total Quality Management goals!!”

The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the aerospace company laid off the rower for poor performance, sold the paddles, cancelled all capital investment for new equipment, halted development of a new boat, gave a “High Performance” award to the consulting firm, then distributed the money saved as bonuses to the senior executives.


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A Key Reason Why Total Quality Management Worked: Trust

Category : Quality Management

A Short Story for The Engineers

A toothpaste factory had a problem: they sometimes shipped empty boxes, without the tube inside.  This was due to the way the production line was set up, and people with experience in designing production lines will tell you how difficult it is to have everything happen with timings so precise that every single unit coming out of it is perfect 100% of the time.  Small variations in the environment (which can’t be controlled in a cost-effective fashion) mean you must have quality assurance checks smartly distributed across the line so that customers all the way down to the supermarket don’t get pissed off and buy another product instead.

Understanding how important that was, the CEO of the toothpaste factory got the top people in the company together and they decided to start a new project, in which they would hire an external engineering company to solve their empty boxes problem, as their engineering department was already too stretched to take on any extra effort.

The project followed the usual process: budget and project sponsor allocated, RFP, third-parties selected, and six months (and $8 million) later they had a fantastic solution — on time, on budget, high quality and everyone in the project had a great time.  They solved the problem by using high-tech precision scales that would sound a bell and flash lights whenever a toothpaste box would weigh less than it should.  The line would stop, someone would walk over and yank the defective box out of it, pressing another button when done to re-start the line.

A while later, the CEO decides to have a look at the ROI of the project: amazing results!  No empty boxes ever shipped out of the factory after the scales were put in place.  Very few customer complaints, and they were gaining market share. “That’s some money well spent!” – he says, before looking closely at the other statistics in the report.

It turns out, the number of defects picked up by the scales was 0 after three weeks of production use.  It should’ve been picking up at least a dozen a day, so maybe there was something wrong with the report.  He filed a bug against it, and after some investigation, the engineers come back saying the report was actually correct.  The scales really weren’t picking up any defects, because all boxes that got to that point in the conveyor belt were good.

Puzzled, the CEO traveled down to the factory, and walks up to the part of the line where the precision scales were installed.  A few feet before the scale, there was a $20 desk fan, blowing the empty boxes out of the belt and into a bin.

“Oh, that,” says one of the workers  — “one of the guys put it there ’cause he was tired of walking over every time the bell rang.”

This story provides an important lesson.  While the $8 million spent for the solution is probably exaggerated, the lesson is clear: If the company trusted and involved employees in identifying and solving problems it could have avoided the huge cost of hiring an outside firm and would be significantly more profitable.   Note that stories like this are common in virtually every medium or large-sized business today, though most are not as striking.

https://oneffectivemanagement.wordpress.com/2012/01/24/a-key-reason-why-total-quality-management-worked-trust/


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Quality Assurance Framework

Category : Quality Management

Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives. ~William A. Foster

A Quality Assurance Framework is defined to ensure organisational objectives are met and to assure that the right things are being done for the right reasons in the right way. It allows us to look at our strengths and continuously improve our quality of service. It also helps us to work out priorities, create better working practices and policies, improve the relationships within organisation and have greater visibility of the management’s commitment to back the initiatives and support the department’s aims.

 Benefits of a Quality Assurance Framework:

  • More effective and efficient use of systems and procedures
  • Better quality of organisation services
  • Better and consistent communication
  • Increased motivation for teams
  • Enabling more creative thinking and adoption of new perspectives and ways of working
  • Organisational learning and continuous improvement over time

 Quality Assurance Framework covers five key disciplines:

  • Quality Framework
  • Process Framework
  • Tools Framework
  • Governance Framework
  • Knowledge Management

 Quality Assurance Framework Model

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 Quality Assurance Framework Structure

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Quality Framework – Goal Definition

  • Defining Goals for an organisation
    • Goals are outcome statements that define what an organisation is trying to accomplish.
    • It is a collection of related programs, a reflection of major actions of the organisation providing rallying points for managers.
  • Defining Objectives
    • Objectives are very precise, time-based, measurable actions that support the completion of a goal. Objectives typically must:
    • Be related directly to the goal
    • Be clear, concise, and understandable
    • Be stated in terms of results
    • Begin with an action verb
    • Specify a date for accomplishment
    • Be measurable.
  • Goals and objectives provide the foundation for measurement.

 Quality Framework – Measurement Framework

  • An organisation can use industry best practise in defining its measurement framework – Goal Question Metrics (GQM)
  • GQM is a top-down approach in establishing a goal-driven measurement system:
    • Starts with organisation goals and its corresponding measurement goals
    • Create questions in order to address the goals
    • Identifies list of measurements that provide answers to the questions.

 Quality Framework – Reporting Framework

  • An effective reporting framework plays a key role in enabling knowledge management that should benefit all stakeholders, from top to bottom.
  • Reporting Principles and Guidance
    • Principles to define report content: Materiality, Stakeholder Inclusiveness, Sustainability Context, and Completeness
    • Principles to define report quality: Balance, Comparability, Accuracy, Timeliness, Reliability, and Clarity
    • Guidance on how to set the report boundary and list of Key Performance Indicators
  • Dashboards and Scorecards
    • Dashboards and scorecards are ways to personalise information, deliver critical KPIs, and track progress against operational, financial and strategic goals and objectives.
    • It supports the delivery of information in a predefined format at the appropriate level of detail for the target audience.

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Process Framework

Process framework represents the organisation’s vision, policies, processes, guidelines, training, metrics reports and best practises that are implemented to enhance and improve its overall performance. The Process framework provides information on the main tasks and activities within organisation.

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Benefits of a Process Framework

  • Facilitate process standardisation & simplification (laying the foundations for process automation opportunities)
  • Vehicle to enable process baselining & the measurement of continuous improvement
  • Promotes easier adherence to organisational standards.
  • Harmonise and optimise Quality practices.
  • Improve internal and external communication.
  • Avoid duplication or gaps in order to reduce risk.
  • Identify and rationalise conflicting responsibilities
  • Provide clarity of process RACI.

 Tools Framework

A Tools Framework within an organisation is defined to enable the implementation of a complete quality management infrastructure, establish consistent, repeatable processes and apply best practices.

  • Realise significant return on their investments
  • Implement the industry best practises and target optimised performance
  • Customise for enhancing automated reporting facilities

 Governance Framework

  • Quality governance:
    • Ensures required standards are in place
    • Take action on sub-standard performance
    • Plan and drive continuous improvement
    • Identify, share and ensure delivery of best practice
    • Identify and manage changes through Quality Strategy and Review Boards

Knowledge Management Framework

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  • Reuse effective techniques: Identifying and documenting successful strategies, techniques, shortcuts, and checklists can help future organisation activities build on a history of positive results.
  • Establish estimation model: By having reliable data as a foundation, a budget spreadsheet with estimated values based on past performance can help kick-start the next organisational tasks.
  • Develop better resource estimates based on past experience: There is no better support for the rationale of the resource plan than data about the resource use of similar past actvities.
  • Educate managers and team members: The history of past experience is a great resource for educating people.
  • Learn from past mistakes: Sweeping mistakes under the rug is a costly mistake. Acknowledging mistakes, analysing their causes, and identifying ways to prevent them in the future is a far more beneficial approach.

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Goal Based Measurement & Reporting Framework

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“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement.
If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it.
If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it.
If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”
– H. James Harrington: An international performance improvement guru
**********
“What gets measured gets done,
what gets measured and fed back gets done well,
what gets rewarded gets repeated.“
– John E. Jones: Leadership trainer
**************

Why Measurement Framework?

  • To provide a consistent approach for systematically defining, collecting, analysing and reporting on the measurement performance across the organisation.
  • Identified measurement to be specific, attainable, agreed, understood, timely, focussed & relevant and ultimately automated.
  • To become a management tool for assisting management to make more informed decisions via a structured reporting framework.
  • Promotes Quality Culture initiative for the early discovery and correction of problems that can be more difficult or costly to resolve later.
  • Streamline reporting at various level of management and facilitates a proactive management strategy.
  • Create a historical database to assist in deriving process capability baselines, performance baselines, knowledge management, estimation and prediction models

Measurement Principles:
Measures should aim at the long-term and should be forward-thinking initiative designed to fundamentally change the way we do business. It is not a post-mortem of what happened but a step towards how we do better in the future.

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 Measurement Principle

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DIKW Hierarchy
To be of value, data must be organised and formatted into information and captured for analysis: Who did what, when, and where?
Once that’s been accomplished, the information can be analysed to gain knowledge: Why a certain event happened, and what might be done about it (wisdom).

Measurement Process Overview

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Measurement & Reporting Framework

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Outcome

  • Effective Communication: Provides objective information thereby reducing the ambiguity.
  • Improving Process- Change for maximum effect: Enables us to understand our processes so that informed decisions can be made in order to manage and improve our processes.
  • Objective feedback on Status: Objectively assesses the performance of activities and the quality of the product.
  • Ensuring Consistency: Eliminates variation and ensures consistent outcomes. Optimises predictability of process outcomes.
  • Provides Early Warning: Facilitates a pro-active management strategy.

Motivation for Metrics

  • Effectiveness: A process characteristic indicating the degree to which the process output (work product) conforms to requirements.(Are we doing the right things?)
  • Efficiency: A process characteristic indicating the degree to which the process produces the required output at minimum resource cost. (Are we doing things right?)
  • Quality: The degree to which a product or service meets customer requirements and expectations.
  • Timeliness: Measures whether a unit of work was done correctly and on time.
  • Productivity: The value added by the process divided by the value of the labour and currency consumed.