Quality Management Office: What You Need to Know AboutPavan Rayaprolu
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Attributes of Quality Management Office
Quality Management Office (QMO) is bound to be a business-enabling function in IT, ITES organizations and, on the flip side, is a key growth contributor for IT consulting firms as we see today. The main objective of QMO is to organize and conduct the quality assurance of the software that is produced by product and service organizations. The high-level constitutes of multi-skilled and highly experienced professionals. They offer solutions spanning across the value chain of software development, but predominantly focus on QA and QC/ Testing aspects. With the advancement and preaching of Test-first practices, the scope and capabilities of QMO services are being rebranded and rediscovered to new heights. This article sheds some light on key aspects and focus areas for being successful in terms of implementation and sustenance of QMOs.
The Shift-Left Approach
This approach needs to believe and harness practices realizing the focus on Quality earlier into the SDLC, rather than focusing on the quality in a standalone testing and deployment phase. The practice needs to induce systems and processes that support the Shift-Left thought process. Early detection of functional and non-functional flaws in the concept, design, and development prevents rework. This improves value streams with improved cycle times.
People or Practice
“The practice is made of people and people make the practice” – there could be a huge difference in the outcomes, if we truly focus on this statement alone. To be successful with ever-changing and ever-growing technology, the practice team needs geeks who are technical at heart and innovative by passion. The team actions should speak volumes of success stories with their pilot implementation and proof-of-concepts to campaign the practices they wish to roll out and implement. A blend of cross-functional skills and cross-cultural skills is known to be a magic recipe to cure the long-lasting development ailments that seems to frequently occur these days.
Aware of symptoms but Unsure of the Cure
The biggest known problem for a patient is that “he is aware of symptoms but not sure of the cure”- A successful QMO should be proactive, rather being reactive is my take on the matter. Most QMOs today focus on a reactive approach, as they get signalled or alarmed only when issues occur. Most of the team’s capacity allocations are towards BAU tasks, rather than allowing and empowering teams to focus on potential threats to systems. Problem Prevention and Problem Solving workshops should be carried out by QMO at regular intervals based on the project performance data catapulted from projects. This helps projects understand the symptoms and get prepared for the cure.
With the existence of many business enabling functions on board in an organization, the natural challenge for QMOs today is to lose the sheen of it very early in the game by not being accepted by the core delivery or other peer functions. Patience and Technical Perseverance coupled with logical solutions are the key elements for getting recognized and being accepted among stakeholders. Proof of Concepts, Problem Solving workshops, Roadshows with Impacted groups, and Campaign of Success Stories are the little to big tasks that a QMO should focus on, to brand them internally. I do not deny the support from management at the nascent stages of QMO growth.
Should it be a Cost Center or Profit Center?
Well, it depends on a journey that you wish to embark! There are no canonical facts that state QMO should be a Cost Center or a Profit Center. Most of the existing QMO setups start as a Cost Center for organizations, especially in a Service Industries. The current QMOs are shaping up and getting to a hybrid state where they cater various services to both internal and external stakeholders. It may start with Good Will Services, and end up as a formal contractual deal. I, myself, have been a great witness of such trends in the Journey I had till date. A tag of getting recognized as a cost center is undoubtedly the best of positions any QMO can have until that time it does not leave its purpose. Loaning of resources and internal billings are the recent trends that are being noticed in all QMOs that are tagged as Profit Center.
Heavy Weight Vs Light Weight
This stands out to be a real-time problem now in many organizations. With organizations embracing the Agile way of developing things using, Scrum, XP, SAFe, LeSS, DAD and DevOps approach, an ideological conflict is being experienced between projects and QMOs. Before we try diving into the possible solutions, let us understand what Agile the Manifesto says. “Working Software over Comprehensive documentation”, it says, but does not rule out the need for documentation. QMOs need to find alternate paths for taking out the redundant and routine jobs out of documentation purview, and should rely on the facts and artifacts being generated by tools adapted for Build, Deploy, Test and Delivery by project teams. The team should discover the options in the existing tool stacks which compliments the presence of a physical documentation evidence they expect project teams to possess with a known exception and risk from Statutory and Regulatory requirements. Any mission critical projects from Health Care and BFSI industries may tweak the process in line with the statutory and regulatory requirements.
Information Radiator over Information Consumer
The current challenge in the IT industry is that it generates data but is not processed further to extract information. QMOs should bridge this gap and rebrand their service offerings in terms of data processing and analyze for both, internal and external stakeholders. This can be poised out to be a USP of current generation QMOs service catalogue. Quantitative Work Management with the help of metrics and measurements should be the pivotal area of focus for QMOs, while they wish to help their projects. Current generation Atlassian products like Jira, HP ALM, Rally and Version One, have some inherent reporting capabilities which QMOs can use to generate meaningful information through metrics from the data being collected.
Torchbearer of Thought leadership
While this looks like a ubiquitous role to satisfy, the beauty lies in how QMOs can discover, design and deliver the value. This certainly decides and compliments the view to have QMOs set up and sustain for years to come, generating and influencing profits for your stakeholders all around. Brands across social forums and sponsors, are performing online webinars on the topics of service offerings and industry trends. Communities of Practices act a great platform today to share and implement thoughts all across the world (non-patented ideas as well as generic practices).
Quality Management Office (QMO) is part of the core business process here at Cigniti Technologies. We understand that in order to keep up with most organizations and their software delivery process, it is important to be able to formulate test cases early on in the SDLC. At Cigniti, our team of experts are adept at transforming data into useful Quality Management processes. To know more, get in touch with us.
Pavan Rayaprolu is a Lead Consultant and an Agile evangelist. He is part of the Advisory and Transformation Services and has helped clients of Cigniti in terms of agile implementation and transformation. Has successfully deployed the Quality Culture through the organization, Process consulting for various clients and endeavored for Operational Excellence. He is a Certified Scrum Master and Scaled Agile Certified Product Manager/Product Owner.