Use resources wisely. That is a line right out of the Girl Scout law, an organization of which I was a member as a young girl and later a leader for many years for my daughter’s troop. The law has been around for at least a hundred years and modified in 1972, what still surprises me is how current it is. Using resources wisely is more important today than ever; globally, locally and within your company.
IQMS develops Manufacturing ERP and MES software, and my department, Quality Assurance, tests it. Our medium sized group hums along at a good pace, where along with testing new development we ensure the existing software continues to work and we assist internal and external customers, and a whole lot more. A couple of times a year there comes a point when our department, as experienced and hard working as it is, must engage other departments for testing assistance. It’s because, as IQMS grows and our development continues to grow exponentially, on a daily basis we run lean, but a couple of times a year we need to ramp up the number of internal users testing the software. Usually we reach out to IQMS Technical Support, and Training also assists.
We went through another push like this recently and it was very successful. Since the number of Support and Training employees has grown since the last push, I modified the process so that each of my QA Specialists were their own boss and they each oversaw a handful of Support and Training personnel. They managed their ‘Test-its’, ensured their team could access the servers and understood what they were testing and at the same time they were able to also analyze software enhancements. With all of the help we grew about 350% larger in those nights of testing! And since I was freed up from managing Support by myself, I was able to go around and assist where needed. It was a very symbiotic experience.
The beauty of having Support assist with testing is although they all go through the same rigorous three month training program, they all have different methods of using the software, and often find issues or have questions about how to use it that QA hasn’t thought about. It really does shed a fresh light on the use of EnterpriseIQ.
The push included two late nights a week of testing over two weeks, with a total of about 576 extra hours of focused, analysis of the software. Support and Quality Assurance were enticed with free dinner and all the candy (chocolate, sugar!) they could eat. It gives Support and Training a good idea of what Quality Assurance experiences on a daily basis, it gives me the opportunity to observe possible future QA Specialists (yes, I’m a poacher) and it empowered my QA Specialists to manage their people and workload.
IQMS Quality Assurance is fortunate to have this resource to tap in to; it allows us to run lean on a daily basis and have a huge team to assist us when we need it.
How are others tapping into their resources to solve internal needs?