Diploma Quality Auditing: QA Tools and Techniques
.1 Quality Planning Tools and Techniques
The quality planning tools and techniques also can be used for QA activities.
.2 Quality Audits
A quality audit is a structured, independent review to determine whether project activities comply with organisational and project policies, processes, and procedures. The objective of a quality audit is to identify inefficient and ineffective policies, processes, and procedures in use on the project.
The subsequent effort to correct these deficiencies should result in a reduced cost of quality and an increase in the percentage of acceptance of the product or service by the customer or sponsor within the performing organisation.
Quality audits may be scheduled or at random, and may be carried out by properly trained in-house auditors or by third parties, external to the performing organisation. Quality audits confirm the implementation of approved change requests, corrective actions, defect repairs, and preventive actions.
.3 Process Analysis
Process analysis follows the steps outlined in the process improvement plan to identify needed improvements from an organisational and technical standpoint. This analysis also examines problems experienced, constraints experienced, and non-value-added activities identified during process operation.
Process analysis includes root cause analysis, a specific technique to analyse a problem/situation, determine the underlying causes that lead to it, and create preventive actions for similar problems.
.4 Quality Control Tools and Techniques
The Tools and Techniques of Quality Control can be used for QA Activities and are as follows (a more detailed description of each tool and technique can be found in the following lesson on Quality Control):
a. Cause and Effect Diagram – also called Ishikawa diagrams or fishbone diagrams illustrate how factors might be linked to potential problems or effects.
b. Control Charts – the purpose of which is to determine whether or not a process is stable or has predictable performance. Control charts may serve as a data gathering tool to show when a process is subject to special cause variation, which creates an out-of-control condition.
c. Flowcharting – helps to analyse how problems occur. A flowchart is a graphical representation of a process. There are many styles, but all process flowcharts show activities, decision points, and the order of processing.
d. Histogram – is a bar chart showing a distribution of variables. Each column represents an attribute or characteristic of a problem/situation. This tool helps identify the cause of problems in a process by the shape and width of the distribution.
e. Pareto Chart – is a specific type of histogram, ordered by frequency of occurrence, which shows how many defects were generated by type or category of identified cause. The Pareto technique is used primarily to identify and evaluate non-conformities.
f. Run Chart – is a line graph that shows data points plotted in the order in which they occur and shows the history and pattern of variation.
g. Scatter Diagram – is a diagram that shows the pattern of relationship between two variables. This tool allows the quality team to study and identify the possible relationship between changes observed in two variables.
There are more advanced tools and techniques to measure and control quality and include:
a. Statistical Sampling – involves choosing part of a population of interest for inspection. Appropriate sampling can often reduce the cost of quality control.
b. Inspection – is the examination of a work product which can be conducted at any level to determine whether it conforms to standards.
c. Defect Repair Review – is an action taken by the quality control department or similarly titled organisation to ensure that product defects are repaired and brought into compliance with requirements or specifications.
Published by: LMIT