Quality Assurance Advice from the Experts

Quality Assurance is a key ingredient to any company’s strategy management plan. Get QA advice from the experts, and explore ClearPoint's new Approvals feature.
Quality Assurance Advice from the Experts
Quality Assurance is a key ingredient to any company’s strategy management plan. Get QA advice from the experts, and explore ClearPoint's new Approvals feature.

Reviews. Scoring. Approvals. The best work needs quality assurance – and that means multiple eyes on one deliverable.

But the review process comes with its own challenges. People chase down colleagues for their feedback. Reviewers change things according to personal preferences versus an established standard. Changes aren’t communicated between drafts. Bottlenecks are inevitable.

The most foolproof way to manage quality assurance is using a software tool that works within your overall strategy ecosystem. That’s why we’ve created a quality assurance and review tool within ClearPoint — Approval Workflows

If you’re struggling with quality assurance (QA) issues, you’re not alone. Here are the problems other business strategists face and how they solve them.

Define Success and Desired Outcomes

Every good strategist knows to start with the why. Sidharth Ramsinghaney, a strategic consultant who has worked with McKinsey and Deloitte, starts by defining what good looks like. He translates this idea into a “North Star,” a clear vision of the desired end state.

To bring that vision to life, he sets SMART goals — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely. Finally, he establishes rough “governance protocols that define how decisions are made, who is involved in the process, and the criteria used to evaluate options.” 

Formalize Workflows and Roles

It’s time to dig into the nitty gritty. Ask yourself: who needs to approve what?

Seasoned business strategist and CEO Ben Johnson uses the following process:

QA Review Process by Role

Starting with peer review provides an open atmosphere conducive for feedback. Next, a manager can check on strategic alignment and resource allocation. After these two phases, an executive can sign off.

Chris Langley, a strategic executive at Patio Doors, uses a different approach for approvals.

       First, [the document] undergoes an initial submission by the member, after which a specifically appointed QA team reviews it. With specified criteria, the QA team evaluates the submission against them, and if any changes are needed, that is remarked, communicated back to the member, and revised. Once the changes are made, a final review is conducted before approval.

Whatever your approach, be sure to spell out the workflow and roles explicitly. The goal is to marry clarity and flexibility. “An approval workflow is like a well-choreographed dance. Everyone knows their steps, but remains ready to improvise," explains Daniel Meursing, CFO of Premier Staff luxury events agency.

In an ideal scenario, your strategic management software will have quality assurance and approval tools built into the platform.

Use a Scorecard to Clarify Approvals

One of the biggest complaints around the approval process is subjectivity. No matter how well you define your desired outcomes, different managers inevitably have varying visions.

A scorecard forces your team to align on what passes or fails a quality assurance check. For content, Raisha Shrestha, Marketing Manager at Ling uses metrics to define clarity, audience engagement, and how well it fits the campaign's objectives.

Scorecards should feature parameters around “accuracy, timelines, adherence to project specifications,” advises fitness founder George Yang.

The best scorecards often include a qualitative element in addition to a quantitative one. Alina Samchenko, COO of IT startup HireDevelopersBiz, uses a wellbeing scorecard approach that “looks beyond conventional performance metrics and includes broader perspectives that relate to customer satisfaction and business process efficiency.” Wellness elements can include client satisfaction or internal perspectives. Even if you have the best performing procedure in the world, it won’t be successful unless it feels smooth to your team and outside approvers.

Avoid Micromanaging by Following the Metrics

A good approval process is a tricky needle to thread. As Tracy Davis, the Founder and CEO of TRAX Analytics, puts it, “quality assurance relies on balancing oversight and delegation.”

But where is the line between oversight and micromanaging?

Balance autonomy with accountability. Davis recommends going back to the scorecard. “Step in only when the metrics demand it,” says the Forbes Technology council member. Each team member has their own perspective. Within the framework, give employees the freedom to do work, their way, as long as the numbers are met.

If you’re a manager, take a good look at your own behavior. “If you find yourself staying up late agonizing over a line of code, tracking what your employees are doing every half hour or leaping into projects to save the day — you’ve ventured into micromanaging,” says executive Tony King of JobSpace.

Use a Software Tool to Track Approvals

Managing approvals requires more than just email or Excel. Eugene Klimaszewski, President at Mammoth Security, explains that “all communication about approvals, edits, or rejections all happens through our project management platform, keeping everyone in the loop.”

A good quality assurance software tool should align seamlessly with how you manage your strategic business goals. ClearPoint’s new Approvals feature allows you to delegate and manage quality assurance practices while connecting them to your broader strategic goals.

ClearPoint Strategy Approvals for Quality Assurance

Evaluate Internal Processes

Every process needs tweaks. Strategist Ben Johnson has a trick for evaluating internal processes: the Start/Stop/Continue approach.

Start/Stop/Continue Quality Assurance Technique

Examining your procedure through the lens of what you should start, stop, or continue lets you get specific and actionable with your process evaluation.

Don’t Forget to Add Positive Feedback

If an employee only hears what they’re doing wrong, morale can suffer. Too many companies give laundry lists of corrections or errors, but only reward quality work with a simple mark of approval.

To keep employees motivated, it’s equally important to celebrate what goes right. Proactively build mechanisms for positive feedback within your approval process.

As CFO of Premier Staff luxury events agency, Meursing channels positive feedback with the festivity of his events with these devices:

  • The Praise Sandwich: We always begin and end with positives, with areas for improvement nestled in between.
  • Visualization Tools: We use augmented reality to show staff exactly where they excel, in addition to how to improve their service techniques.
  • Peer-to-Peer Feedback: We encourage staff to share tips and tricks, which fosters a culture of continuous improvement and allows individual team members the chance to shine. 
  • The 'Oscars' of Service: An annual awards ceremony celebrating our top performers, complete with a red carpet and, of course, impeccable service.

Manage Quality Assurance and Approvals with ClearPoint

Quality assurance is a key ingredient to any company’s strategic management plan. See how Approvals in ClearPoint aligns with overall strategic management, and book a call with our experts today to harness the power of meticulous oversight and controlled change management!

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Quality Assurance Advice from the Experts

Sean Callison

Vice President of Sales & BBQ Master

Sean is the Vice President of Sales at ClearPoint. He leads the Sales department and focuses on developing impactful, consultative sales teams.

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