Verification Systems (Quality Assurance)

Problem:

Many documents or other deliverables provided to a client contain errors, omissions or even formatting problems. This can cause problems for your clients, and gives a bad impression of your companies professionalism.

Too many errors in your deliverables can mean that they get rejected as not meeting the quality requirements of the project. This can affect expected payment dates or could even mean the project does not get paid for the work it has done.

Rework will often have to be done to fix these errors, increasing your costs and causing project schedule delays. This also increases client dissatisfaction.

Solution:

Projects must have all their documentation and deliverables reviewed and checked before issuing to the client.

Your company or at least your project should have some verification systems in place to ensure that documents and drawings are reviewed and approved for issue before being sent to the client or before being built. This is usually part of a Quality Assurance System (QA) or Quality Control.

Some companies put in place a set of verification forms that ensure that each aspect of the deliverable has been checked and approved, and then that form would be signed off. Some companies have in place an electronic system in place of paper forms. A system that automatically fills in the basics (such as project name, number, client etc.) is even better.

One of the most basic checks covered by this verification system should be to check that no parts of the deliverable are missing. Such as signatures, titles, page numbers, title blocks for drawings, drawing numbers and drawing references etc.

Regular or staged design reviews can also be part of this, such as 30% and 80% reviews (or whatever equivalent your company has in place).

I have heard many people complain about how cumbersome it can be to do the verification forms or systems for their project deliverables and how it takes so much time. However, I believe (and have seen) that a well designed system should not take long at all, and will in the end save more time in error correction anyway. However, it must be easy to use and easy to find.

Having these systems in place will also help ensure that your project can pass an audit. The verification system itself should also be regularly reviewed (perhaps yearly) to ensure that it meets the companies quality requirements and is using and linking to the correct procedures and standards. It should also be continuously improved, to increase the efficiency of the verification process.

Good training in the use and importance of the verification system is very important. However, a well designed verification system that works step by step should reduce the need for detailed training to a minimum.

Lesson:

Ensure your company and your project have good, easy to use verification systems (Quality Assurance) in place to ensure that your project delivers to the quality expected by your company and by the client.

Doing so will save your project time and money.

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