It is time for a change, a renovation in process consultancy. For the last 40 or 50 years, the same steps are being followed; the same thought process is being applied with little or no change.

In between, industry specific new standards/models got evolved and practiced. Other than that no major change happened in the process consultancy arena. From where to start the change..?

If the right process is followed in the right way by the project team itself, then there is no need of a second person to ensure process compliance. But occurrence of mistakes is a common phenomenon especially when there is human intervention (and even with machines too). Hence it is always recommended to have an external person for verifying the process compliance.

The following questions may seem questioning the validity of existing well known standards or models. With due respect to all of those standards, I am trying to see the process frame work through different angles- “the second generation of Process Consultancy”.

• If all the projects are being executed in the same way following the same written process and procedures, how can they be innovative?

• If lessons earned are documented, passed to the followers and practiced, won’t they be copycats?

• Is the written process really fitting your projects or aren’t you pretending it to be okay, just to avoid the tailoring procedures?

• Is there really an established process for at least half part of your project or aren’t you just executing it as it come up on your way?

The questions won’t end here..it continues till there is a second generation. And then, only those consultants who have subject expertise as well as analytical nature may be the most suitable for next century organizations.

How will you answer to a common man’s question upon your profession?

Suppose, you are a Quality engineer. But if a person who is not at all related to IT world asks you about your job, how will you answer?

I thought about the same in many dimensions.

Hmm.. It is easy to have a complex definition.. but It is pretty difficult to make it a simpler one

So coming back to the Question, “Who is a Process Engineer/Process consultant/Quality Engineer”?

QA

We all are working based on certain discipline.

Companies are also not at all an exception. They are abiding to some standards. Sometimes they make their own standards and follow the policies inline to those standards.

Otherwise they seek compliance to industry wide accepted standards and models like ISO, CMMI, ASPICE, TL 9000, FDA, AS 9100 etc.

Sometimes they even go for certification or assessment against these standards, so that they can proudly claim that “we are compliant to ISO xxx etc” and definitely which will be an added value in front of the clients.

Now who will be monitoring the compliance on a long run? Disciplines are to be ensured life long, right?

Similarly companies need to ensure that the defined policies are implemented and updated on a regular basis. If the responsibility is shared among each and every employee, it will end nowhere and ultimately everything is diluted.

So companies keep a separate group known as process consultant or QA engineers.

  • They mainly help the organization to comply with these standards.

  • They train the employees on the implementation part.

  • They write policies and procedures and ensure that it is shared to relevant people.

  • They ensure that these policies are practiced inside the projects through proper audits.

  • They escalate the issues and update the status to senior management.

  • They initiate corrective actions and preventive actions whenever required.

  • The job does not end here. If the company had gone for certification/assessment this team plays a main role for an easy go.

So this is the bare minimum responsibility of a QA engineer. And depending upon the organization, tasks vary. There are consultants who do data analysis and come up with interesting facts about the organization.

So in short, QA team is the team who ensures process compliance within an organization.