Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Attributes you need to be successful in Quality Assurance

By the time I am writing this article, I already have about 4 years of experience in quality assurance for DVD products such as DVD player and DVD recorder. My expertise or specialization is in the area of new product evaluation where I need to oversee the quality aspect of the product right from the design specification and prototyping up to the introduction to mass production. One thing I learn in Sony is that quality does not improve overnight. Therefore if an organization wants to produce good quality product or want to be affiliated as a company that offers good quality services, they need to have the following:

Good working culture that stress on quality (from top level onwards)
Emphasis on quality rather than quantity
Well planned company procedure
Company's mission and objective must encompass quality
Strong QA Department
In addition, contrary to most people's believe, they think that Quality Assurance Department are merely people who checks for other people's mistake, people who only knows how to complain or some would even say that we are people who does not know anything more than to slow down processes, be it in design process or even production process. This should not be the case in a company that emphasize on quality. Quality centered organization would see that Quality Assurance Department attempts to 'help' the organization improve in the area of product, services and even the development of a good company culture. The department actually transcend and bring out another competitive advantage for the organization, that is getting more important in our society today: quality.

The main discussion this time is what kind of people would be ideal in the QA area. Who can spearhead the organization's product/services quality improvement. The following are some of the attributes I have identified from my own experience:

Able to stand up for his/her own beliefs
Good presentation skills
Non-confrontational but are able to do so

So much has been said about Quality Assurance, and I think that anyone reading this must have been freaked out by what I have wrote. But do you know what are the qualities or attributes that a good QA person needs to have? CURIOSITY. Suspicious. This is the first trade of a good QA person. They must be curious enough to notice things, eagerness to find out if something does not feel right. There has been lots of cases that could have been prevented if QA engineers or technicians could have been more eager to smell out problems. Indeed sometimes QA engineers may run through some detail test script and may not find any problems, however someone who curiously explore the function of the products may stumble upon defects in a matter of minutes.