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Moving to lean QA? You need to use an idea presentation

Any change is hard, but moving to a lean QA organization is especially tricky. Amy Reichert continues her lean QA series with advice on implementation.

This is the second in an occasional series on transitioning to a lean QA model. Part one focused on discovering the waste in your process.

Now that you have found the waste in your QA process, you're ready to present, train and implement. The first step is developing the idea presentation and following it with training sessions complete with documentation.

Training documentation includes the idea presentation materials, as well as step-by-step how-to checklists. It's fantastic to have a lean QA process, but if the QA team doesn't understand what each step entails, the new process won't get off the ground. So that's why you need to create your idea presentation.

Be open to new ideas

Make the idea presentation an open forum so critics can critique and others can ask questions. Putting the idea presentation on slides can be useful, but be careful you don't simply read the slides. Chances are your QA testers can read, so explain the idea and let them read the slides as process documentation on their own time. Walk through at a decent pace, and be prepared to answer questions. Most development teams are so bombarded by constant changes that one more change is both an annoyance and a distraction. Do your best to remain neutral while presenting in a calm but assertive tone. It's highly likely something in your process will be challenged, so be open-minded in case the team comes up with a leaner idea than yours. We're building a lean QA team process after all.

Ready for training

Following the idea presentation, schedule a separate meeting for training. Before getting into training, be sure to develop the training documentation. For example, create a checklist of what to do for each process step. Use specific details and examples relevant to your team. If you don't know the details, snag a QA team member to assist you, or do some research.

Make your idea presentation instructions direct and to the point -- no rambling or paragraphs of generalizations or justifications. Straight-up, simple communication is all you need. Simple communication means giving the team only the information they need in an entertaining fashion, but don't waste time.

Develop training sessions that keep the audience involved and alert. There are always a few that tend to drift off in any meeting, regardless of the topic. Try to ask questions, and keep it as interactive as possible. Hold any lengthy discussions to the end, so the training moves along at a quick pace.

Finally, don't start a new process the very next day. Give your team members at least a week or two to soak in the new process before compliance officially starts. Rushing a new process onto a typically busy group creates instant resistance. Give them time to think and adjust to what they've learned from your idea presentation.

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