... and some have greatness thrust upon them - Training for novice QA manager ?

normzone

Trusted Information Resource
#1
Some corporate cultures do it differently. But I've worked with more than one outfit where the Quality Manager position is the hot potato that the guy who draws the short straw gets.

When you see an otherwise competent manager type about to have greatness thrust upon them, what training does one recommend?

The first thing that comes to my mind is the ASQ CMQ/OE, but I've been years out of the ASQ arena, so my opinion is low value.

But I'm going to see this transition occur before too long, and I want to make some recommendations. Your input is greatly valued.

Of course, I always steer the well intended novice to this forum ;-)
 
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Ronen E

Problem Solver
Staff member
Moderator
#2
I think that a mentor who can sit down with the incumbent 1-2 times a week for the first few months will be more effective than any generic course. Don't know how that would compare in terms of cost though.
The hardest part in QA management is making the right decisions (often soft decisions) in real time, and I don't think you can learn that in a short-ish generic course. Technical knowledge can be self-taught with books and online resources.
 

normzone

Trusted Information Resource
#3
Interesting point [Ronen E] - I'll put my mind to work thinking about who a good mentor-for-hire would be, but I will probably be tasked with that role.

"The hardest part in QA management is making the right decisions (often soft decisions) in real time"

Since I"m likely to find myself in the local production of "Mentor: Improv Comedy Editions" what other gems like this can the lot of you offer?
 

Johnny Quality

Involved In Discussions
#4
I feel I went through something like what you're describing. I ended up being a QM for a Tier 2 injection moulder in automotive 9 months out of university after my manager abruptly left while I was the QE. The very next day I had a major customer audit and two weeks later I had a 3rd party surveillance audit to deal with.

A few years later I'm still here, no short thanks to the great and wise people here.

My advice to your hopeful is to spend as long as it takes finding out how the business really functions and then make changes. Never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut and accept you may or may not be the ideas machine, there are many ideas sat and waiting in the minds of others who are only too happy to tell you if you ask.

A copy of Out of the Crisis and How to Win Friends and Influence People hasn't steered me wrong either.

Best of luck to your hopeful.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#5
Most of the time adding letters behind your name adds up to you're losing time & money to obtain a warm fuzzy. If you've been working in quality and have years of experience doing what do you really expect to gain?
Though sometimes not taken seriously you can get real world info (and have fun doing so) from just reading simple things like "The One Minute Manager" (or other Ken Blanchard books), "Mary Kay on People Management", "Moses on Management", "Winnie-the-Pooh on Management", "Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun", some Tom Peters stuff and others.....Here's another....... Management For Dummies 2nd edition | 9780470977699, 9781119991793 | VitalSource
 

Jean_B

Trusted Information Resource
#6
Interesting point [Ronen E] - I'll put my mind to work thinking about who a good mentor-for-hire would be, but I will probably be tasked with that role.

"The hardest part in QA management is making the right decisions (often soft decisions) in real time"

Since I"m likely to find myself in the local production of "Mentor: Improv Comedy Editions" what other gems like this can the lot of you offer?
Develop a sense for what level of information your 'client' will work with, what you need to prove you handled something adequately to persons not directly involved (including external parties/situations such as auditors and, in the worst case, lawsuits) and which is truly superfluous. The analytical mind might waste a lot of time on work which has no direct or later impact. When you don't have the sense yet, once you have preliminary information you can offer a rough sketch and ask to what extent they want it outlined and filled in. Note that this is separate from your independent conclusion and integrity of information, which 'shall' not change depending on their request.

On setting and monitoring objectives: First ask the top honcho (likely CEO) two things: what information he wants (including whether it has alert or alarm levels), in what format (tabels, numbers, visuals) and what interval/resolution and for which period; and what decisions he will be making. The first is so you meet expectations, the second so you might surpas them by giving him things he didn't know he needed.
Second: repeat this down the organizational tree, ensuring integrity of reporting all the way to the top. If not, prepare yourself for the real-time rendition of 'fifty shades of green' with its spin-off 'blank (for) now'.

Develop the habit (of yourself and others) to sign for both acceptation as well as rejection (like, but different from, signed as read). An unsigned record is ambiguous to its conclusion/disposition. This besides the typical ALCOA+ principles and everything that underlies and follows from them.

Understand group dynamics/psychology (way too short, but do it justice would be way too long).

As for my additions to the quotable bucket of wisdom-nuggets:
  • Document control does not imply process control, and vice versa. (They do often correlate but do not causate. Yet you need both demonstrable and actual control).
  • Making a decision means someone not making a decision. (You could be imposing on someone's empowerment, or chance to develop their own skills. As manager your primary channel of impact is your people. Not the projects, the processes or the products. You'll feel obliged to step down once higher management is breathing down your neck on something. Don't, help the person, don't do it for them.)
  • A decision made should be evaluated, not questioned. (Once the ball is rolling evaluate with someone the positive and negative consequences, but don't make them feel stupid for having made it at all. Note what they could have considered to make it go better, not why they didn't consider something that would prevent it from being as bad. This will also help with the unity of voice for your department, as you won't be fueling a potential counterpoint to your employee's future actions.)
 

Ronen E

Problem Solver
Staff member
Moderator
#7
My advice to your hopeful is to spend as long as it takes finding out how the business really functions and then make changes. Never miss an opportunity to keep your mouth shut and accept you may or may not be the ideas machine, there are many ideas sat and waiting in the minds of others who are only too happy to tell you if you ask.
That's QM gold.
:applause:
 
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