When you begin a new project in the workplace, it is advisable to have a quality assurance plan in place. These plans ensure that the work product is consistent and is of the caliber the company and its clients expect. It’s also an excellent yardstick against which to measure employee performance.
Quality Assurance Plans
While buzz words like “quality assurance plans” can be a bit intimidating, the general concept is fairly simple. A quality assurance plan is essentially an organizational chart set up into four separate parts or steps. These steps are: plan, do, check and act.
Planning Quality Assurance
In the planning stage, you should collect all the resources that you will have at your disposal to complete your project. Then, you will take note of all the costs that will be involved in accomplishing your end goal. Once you have a project budget and a ballpark on the costs, you can begin to plan how your project will go.
You should also establish benchmarks for the product and how it needs to turn out, including any ranges of acceptable quality. This is important so that employees have guidelines to follow.
Enacting Quality Assurance
In the “do” phase, you will begin enacting your plan. This is where you will spend time on workflow, understanding what sort of staff hours you will need. In addition, you must ensure that your workflow allows stops in the process to assess how everything is going.
Since you have a quality assurance plan, you will be able to walk through the project in various stages and can level set expectations at set points in the project. Constant checking on your team’s progress is a way to assure that there is no lost quality. This is the “check” portion of the process.
The final stage, “act,” is when you will display your finished product. The final part of the plan has been accomplished, and everything is where you want it to be. A successfully planned project will come in on time and at budget and meet your quality expectations.
Why a QA Plan?
A QA plan is important for any project that will have many moving parts. It allows you to separate and maintain everything that is going on in the project without slowing it down or getting confused. Because a QA plan is mostly an organizational chart, it serves as the blueprint for the project to the whole team.
Quality Assurance Plan Sample
You can find a variety of sample quality assurance checklists, but the quality checklist definition is that it is a simple way to test products as they come off a line to make sure there are no mistakes or errors. A QA checklist reads a lot like a preventative maintenance checklist.
On your QA checklist, you should include the following:
- Test the product for its direct purpose.
- Safety checks on the product.
- A pass/fail rating.
- Appearance/does it look nice.
- Electrical checks if needed.
All quality assurance plans are designed to make a project with a lot of moving parts operate better than it would without one. As long as your plan meets that objective, it is successful. Because there are many voices to follow on this topic, take what works for you and your organization.
What Is Project Tracking?
Project tracking is part of the quality assurance “check” process when you are working through your plan. Project tracking requires you to set “stop” points so that you can go in and check on the process. It gives you a chance to adjust your expectations and gives you an opportunity to point out small problems before they become large ones.
What Is Human Capital?
Human capital is the set of skills that your team brings to the table. Optimally, you will have a good mix of talents and skills with which to work. It is extremely important that everyone on your team know what his specific job is as well as what the end product will be.
You should pay as much attention to your human capital as you do to your financial capital. Putting the wrong person in a job can have disastrous consequences. Always make sure that you have individual check-ins with your direct reports.
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