Redefining Quality Assurance

By | 2016-11-04T16:57:56+00:00 December 18, 2013|Events, Viewpoints|

Have you ever incorrectly put together a bed frame because you were missing a bolt or the instructions incorrectly referenced a part number? If yes, then you have just experienced the “1-10-100” rule and chances are, you were not the only one with a lopsided bed frame.

The “1-10-100” is a general rule that applies to companies and how they handle errors.  It separates the costs of problems into 3 parts:

  • PREVENTION
  • CORRECTION
  • FAILURE

When we allow errors to go unresolved, the cost of fixing those errors can become exponentially greater as we move down the development lifecycle for whatever we are creating.

Back to the bed frame example—if the person writing the instructions and the person packing the pieces of the bed frame were not fully aware of each other’s QA process, you can imagine what other types of issues could arise from this lack of communication.

Redefining Quality Assurance

The earlier we capture errors in our processes, the less they cost to fix.

If you ask the typical marketer about their organization’s QA efforts, they may associate it with a dedicated individual who checks website links at the end of the process to make sure everything works perfectly on Firefox, Internet Explorer, etc.

But QA is more than a single step in the process, and should not be an afterthought. The perception of what QA is needs an overhaul. Each person who works on a project needs to “assure” themselves and others of the “quality” of their work.

As marketers, we place great importance on our editorial review processes to ensure we incorporate regulatory comments exactly. Editorial activity is often perceived as completely different and much more important than functional review, even though both are a form of QA that align an output with everything that preceded it.

JUICE production team members, Ted Shimizu and Sara Allen, recently attended the 2013 QA Summit, where we learned about the concept of Shift Left. Shift Left is about changing the focus of error resolution from the “Failure” side of the process towards the “Prevention” side.

Earlier steps in the creative process like developing a creative kickoff document, creative concepting, or determining functional requirements, all require a great deal of QA so we can “prevent” straying from our strategic goals and having to re-do work.

Holistic knowledge is also an important factor in QA. Each discipline should understand all the requirements of a project so that it can pass off an error-free job to the next discipline. If we all have this mindset, it would disperse responsibility and create a multi-faceted approach to QA.

There is probably a long list of items you may want to address within your organization. But small things like continued education on how each person’s work impacts others, or simply changing the perception of QA in the workplace, may help cut down on unnecessary costs.

About the Author:

Ted Shimizu
VP, Digital Standards and Operations

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