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Should Quality folks be just policemen & policewomen?

Jen Kirley

Quality and Auditing Expert
Staff member
Admin
#11
Re: Should Quality folks be just policeman & policewomen?

So many good responses so far.

I picked up the remark that the people don't think the Quality group is technically inclined, and also not good in providing solutions. Indeed, quality auditing and resulting Corrective Action (CA) follows the Management by Exception principle by nature unless the QA person is more helpful in providing insight as to why this or that is helpful or risky.

How much technical understanding a QA people need depends on what the organization expects of them. If these people are expected to solve others' problems, the risk is that the QA person becomes responsible for the outcome in a process not in that person's control.

QA people can advise but execution and decisionmaking is up to the process people. QA people can use the basic QA Management Tools to help facilitate the problem solving process: a coach. These tools could sometimes be used in a meeting, and including representatives from various affected departments, where technically superior people and process owners/contributors can provide the input while the QA person asks the questions and uses the answers to execute the tools. Do this often enough and one could hope the process people can be steered toward adopting such tools for smaller level, day to day problem solving.

The resulting solutions thus belong to the process people where they belong, and the QA person has satisfied their wish to be more collaborating. In this manner, QA can problem solve without technical prowess.

It requires Corrective Action (CA) to be elevated from the police action, and even above the schoolteacher sense, although for things like documentation needs the CA really does look more like just a school assignment. And that's okay because the technically brilliant may not have a solid understanding about how to write a procedure that satisfies QA standards like ISO.

Yesterday I took a department's procedure, which was unclear on things like responsibilities, and made a bunch of notes on it that explained to the document's owner (test software department manager) what was needed. No need for him to guess and for us to push the thing back and forth until he got it right. Under old-style CA an auditor would be discouraged form teaching and such a hands-on approach but I feel it's a good time to move from cop to teacher. It's what my employer wants, which is especially important.

I wonder if your organization is sending mixed signals? Is the system set up through management for QA to behave in the Management by Exception mode and the process people are unhappy with the model? If so, the idea of coach/facilitator should be presented to management so everyone can understand the change QA is trying to make and why.

I hope this helps!
 

Bev D

Heretical Statistician
Staff member
Super Moderator
#13
Re: Should Quality folks be just policeman & policewomen?

Actually my biggest successes - both in persoanl career growth and in organizational impact - has been when I turned a QA/QC group form policeman to change agents. coaches, leaders, consultants. I had my people make the first steps to reach out to the rest of the organization and to move from inspection to process control to Problem Solvers to process designers.

Police actions are a lose/lose proposition. While they may be required at times (tough love) it shoudl be the action of last resort.

If the quality group doesn't lead quality improvment - who will? adn if it's not the quality group, what value add are they to the organization?
 

Jim Wynne

Super Moderator
#15
Re: Should Quality folks be just policeman & policewomen?

Actually my biggest successes - both in persoanl career growth and in organizational impact - has been when I turned a QA/QC group form policeman to change agents. coaches, leaders, consultants. I had my people make the first steps to reach out to the rest of the organization and to move from inspection to process control to Problem Solvers to process designers.

Police actions are a lose/lose proposition. While they may be required at times (tough love) it shoudl be the action of last resort.

If the quality group doesn't lead quality improvment - who will? adn if it's not the quality group, what value add are they to the organization?
I've had some experiences similar to yours, and it is very satisfying to see the transformation take hold. I've also experienced a few dismal failures, but in each of those it was because the owner or CEO didn't really want to change. A lot of companies have committed suicide this way--ownership fiddling while Rome burns down around them. You have to be able to know when to get the he11 out before getting your ownself burned to a crisp.
 

Bev D

Heretical Statistician
Staff member
Super Moderator
#16
Re: Should Quality folks be just policeman & policewomen?

Jim Wynne said:
;You have to be able to know when to get the he11 out before getting your ownself burned to a crisp.
Yes! life is too short for anything else...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

ScottK

Not out of the crisis
Staff member
Super Moderator
#17
Re: Should Quality folks be just policeman & policewomen?

you all make it seem like having police is a bad thing.
Someone has to enforce the rules.

Most QMS require corrective actions and in most QMS a corrective action is notice of a non-conconformance. Or a ticket. Who usually writes system corrective actions? Quality people - inspectors and auditors, right? And the Quality Manager is the judge.

In every place I've worked you can't allow anyone to write corrective actions or you'd have Joe and Bob, who don't get along, writing each other up every day. Thus if Joe or Bob see a nonconformance they can report to to Quality who can then determine if it warrants as CAR.

Sure, the emphasis should more on preventive action and teaching and coaching... and a well trained police force will accomplish this too, just as real police visit schools and talk to kids about how to cross the street why to stay away from drugs.

CA's play as much into continual improvement as eveything else since there should be a preventive action associate with each in order to prevent recurrence.

:2cents:
 

Ajit Basrur

Staff member
Admin
#19
Re: Should Quality folks be just policeman & policewomen?

you all make it seem like having police is a bad thing. Someone has to enforce the rules.
If QA / QC act like policemen, everyone in the organisation shall play the game of "Police and Thief" and result in hostile, Cold War relations. :mg:
 

ScottK

Not out of the crisis
Staff member
Super Moderator
#20
Re: Should Quality folks be just policeman & policewomen?

Sure - someone does. How about management?
Who's going to tell management that there is a nonconformance?
Managment has to work through their agents. My agents are my QC Staff.
 
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