Most of the organizations are doing needful about quality but why does a product fail the customer expectation?
Information Technology departments of the organizations are now realize the importance of QUALITY. The first step initiated by the head of the department is to purchase some of the testing tools to test the product under development and implement policies for the IT department. Second step, testers or testing team is appointed to initiate testing of the products under development. Thirdly, now the newly appointed development team is provided to development leader to add “Quality component” for the product development. IT department heads now consider that “Quality” will be added to their “product under development” and they coolly focus on other activities.
At this stage, the product development gets little variation in activities, as new testing team is in place. Test summary reports are mailed to IT heads every week. Most of the test summary reports will carry list of new defects found every week. Development lead will assign couple of developers to look into those defects and will willingly fix some of those defects. IT heads are relieved that product health is now “Quality enabled”. Once the product development activity will complete, the priority based and severity type defects will be selected and closed by development team from the weekly test summary reports. Once the programming lead of the product considers that product is “Ready for release”, party & celebration follows & the product released to the users.
Result, the newly developed product of organization has more complaints and FAILS the customer (internal or external) expectation on all grounds. Subsequently, now IT department product development team is forced to work 24X7 and fix the customer complaints. Product development team is not much happy about fixing the major, minor and trivial complaints / defects. Subsequently a new team is hired by IT organization to work on product complaints or outsource the product complaints & maintenance work to offshore company.
Project closing activities follows “project learning’s” and future project planning. Management appreciates the successful completion of project with minor annoyance about project delays. Project Management team head with management now decides to work on other new projects and the cycle continues.
Due to rapid expansion of company, a new matured quality professional is appointed in the organization as Quality Lead for the IT department & to help set the process for the company.
The Quality lead assesses the existing project management situation of the IT department and call for meeting to present assessment report. The realistic picture of product quality, project management & organization processes is portrayed to all project stakeholders.
The first collective reaction from the project manager & IT head of the company is that the report is extraneous & is chucked out!!!
It is surprising that the technical people underestimate the value of “Quality” in IT department. It is biggest paradox that these foremost members who give presentations & lectures on “QUALITY” have less conviction & value quality in their organizations.
If purchasing testing tools, process implementation tools and adding skilled tester could add “Quality” to products, than companies would have never had “substandard quality products” or the product user complaining about various technical and non-technical problems related to products neither do company had unspeakable processes.
Have management of most of the organizations thought seriously about the above described sorry state-of-affairs or the scenarios that are worse.
Despite having well established departments in organization such as IT, HR, Training, Accounts, Infrastructure etc., & responsible person-in-charge, why the existing situation in sorry state!!!!
The key pointers which lead to above described state of affairs in most of the organizations may have one or multiple of the following situations:
- The project managers are forever under pressure to complete prolonged project.
- The awareness & training about “QUALITY” from top-to-bottom hired employee of the organization is NIL.
- Organization’s IT team taste unexpected success and rapidly grow BIG add the unavoidable chaos with bad planning.
- Management planning & commitment towards organization processes reforms is not effective.
- The rigid & predetermined set of organization culture & practices.
- Management not ready to accept transforming management practices & quality innovations.
- The archetypal “program code production” & narrow focus attitude of IT professionals in self-learning & project process improvement.
Organizations have to seriously analyze the above “Why sorry state” situations & sincerely think about “How to improve” the situation. The most common approach of solving any organization problem is in three ways, namely:
- Find short term solution
- Find long term solution
The short-term solution can be, to appoint experienced & professional quality expert for IT department with limited autonomy to “Change” the situation. Now, the management expects from these Quality professional is to rotate the Magic wand and change the IT department’s scruffy situation.
The sincere efforts of these “One Man Army” may improve the situation of project(s) by around 25%, But overall the IT department functioning is still in disarray.
Let us analyze the situation now; by adding experienced & professional quality expert in IT department, Organization management presumes that their responsibility is ended. Now it is unto this guy to work it out and change the situation. IT managers think that these “One Man Army” is responsible for “testing only” activities related to projects hence he/she will be given only project testing activities. Other department manager’s are less concerned about the “new member” presence in the organization, as this professional doesn’t belong to their department.
The above two paragraph confirm us that any short term solution can improve situation acutely permanently or may improve the situation temporarily but is not going to be “silver bullet solution” for our problems.
If anyone claims to have “silver bullet permanent solution” for organization level problem, than he/she deserves to be immortal legend & deserve photo-framed in every CEO’s cabins. In today’s dynamic and ever changing market scenarios, its hard to claim of permanent solution to any problems.
Now let us look at long-term solution to “QUALITY-Enable” the organization. As the saying goes “ River flow from top to bottom, it will be wise to clean the river from top than from bottom”. Thus the more pragmatic approach is not to appoint amateur tester rather to have broad-vision thinking to have serious & long-term roadmap for “Quality-Enabling” organization. The vision & commitment should come from Organization Management. As organization management is committed towards improving revenue bottom lines, shareholders & customers, similarly management should also commit itself towards Quality-Enabling organization which intern will unquestionably improve directly / indirectly bottom lines, customer expectation and organization growth.
As most of the vertical departments of organization function to cater internal & external needs of organization and its customers, management should seriously think in setting up QUALITY division for organization which should function like finance or any other vertical functional department.
The quality department should be established with serious commitment from management to improve organization growth. The appointment of Chief Quality Officer (CQO), Quality managers, Testers, Quality Assurance Auditors, etc should work in full-fledge to implement mission “Quality-Enabling” of organization.
The unmitigated autonomy with responsible & visionary leader for quality department will unquestionably help organization to climb greater heights in today’s market.
Primarily, organization which are involved in product development, offshore services, product maintenance, Extended arm or support division of organization etc. all of them require services of Quality Assurance with prime importance in their day-to-day functioning. Secondly organization HR department, Accounts department, infrastructure management etc needs process streamlining, undoubtedly they need the support of Quality expert to help them streamline & optimize their processes. Above all every department of organization from Planning, Marketing to security needs periodic monitoring and audits. Quality department can walk-in with expertise to streamline processes, optimize & improve processes, Testing, Audits & Review activities of various vertical functions of company.
The mission of “Quality-Enabling” is not limited to just top management & quality department in organization, it entails, active participation from all the departments of organization. “Quality-Enabling” necessitates cultural and attitude change in every individual contributor of organization directly/ indirectly. The periodic audits and review reports should be taken seriously and discussed in department meetings. The focus of every department should be on “how to improve” & not indulge in avoiding or criticizing Quality associate, rather constructive & active involvement of individuals will expedite department process improvements.
Training & workshops should be conducted on regular basis to educate every single organization contributor and making them quality conscious will definitely yield long-term fruits of sustainable growth of organization for years.
Organization, which have implemented six sigma or otherwise proven processes are live examples of Quality conscious organization that have survived the turbulent times.
It will be wise in today’s time to focus seriously towards 360-degree organization improvement rather than focusing on only some department and forcing them for perfection.
Today, the organization vision needs foresight Quality leaders to lead the organization for growth & improvement. It can be undoubtedly said that, it’s right time for organization to take QUALITY seriously. The need of hour is that the quality leaders have to be torchbearers in leading organization in growth and survival journey. It is right to have CQO for organizations.