Sunday, June 30, 2013

Define a Quality Professional Job

Quality has multiple definitions.  Quality is perceived differently when looked at it from control or assurance perspectives.  Thus defining a job in quality, to somebody else, may not be very straightforward.  Paul, in his blog post, asks fellow ASQ bloggers to share their thoughts to explain the job of a quality practitioner or professional.

In today's world, I think, most of us are quality practitioners.  For example, a school going child, creates a checklist to carry all the necessary items on the term examination day and adheres to it.  A tourist takes to-do notes, reviews travel plans, carries checklist before his cruise to Bahamas Islands.  A pilot goes through his exhaustive checklist of items before departure of a flight.   In a fastener manufacturing company, the assembly line technician use control charts to measure the product quality.  In an IT industry, software developer reviews his code for correctness and completeness.  Thus quality is existent in various functions - be it in real-life, manufacturing or services.  So, most people understand what quality is and, to some good extent, the job of a quality professional.

We can see that quality practice, in an organization, can either be centralized or decentralized.  For simplicity, let us look at the IT industry.  A software developer reviewing his code for correctness and completeness shall be considered as an example of a decentralized quality practice.  It is to be noted that the primary function of a software developer is write software programs.  Through self-review of the software program, he performs the part-time job, or role, of a quality practitioner.  Conversely, a software tester is a dedicated entity completely engaged in a centralized quality practice.  He spends most of his day testing software code, automating test processes, updating checklists, performing root cause analysis of defects, preparing test documents etc.  Thus we see that the job description of a software tester, the full-time quality practitioner, is a lengthy affair.

By practicing quality, even a school child can understand what quality is, and its importance from a practitioner's perspective.  Thus explaining somebody a job in quality may not be very difficult, but not very easy either and the challenge of explaining the job in quality is going to continue!

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