This is an age old question but I'm looking for open opinions and ideally a definite straightforward answer.

I work in a technology operation as a manager of a Quality Assurance Team, Our role is to follow a set guideline and ensure the output of our location is to a set standard, however I am daily pushed to meet a productivity target, above, what I believe, is achievable with my headcount.

Whilst I have done clear measures to support this and delivered this to my boss, we are not in a position to increase headcount at present leaving the team with a large backlog each day. the only solution to this is to temporarily increase the headcount the following day with staff who have never done the process before and have no love or care for the task. causing error after error from the team which then has to be mopped up.

At the same time I have an opposing team working alternate hours who are able to meet this target as their operatives are 33 faster than mine, however after investigation today I have found that only 15% of their work is completed to the set standard.

Whilst principles say, never criticise, condemn or complain I am stuck in a cross roads of Quality Vs Quantity, because my boss is only looking at the productivity number.

Has anone faced this?

Do I deliver the number my boss wants, and turn a blind eye to the little corners that get cut by my team, so that I have delivered, he is happy and I am seen to deliver?.

Or stand hard by the fact that I have a team which is working by the letter, delivering a high quality performance and hope that my colleague is found out. showing that it was I who was right all along and I should be trusted.

Could somebody be so kind as to provide a straightforward answer, I have had so much justification from my peers which suggest, but never truly confirm, dont worry about the little issues, just deliver the number and make us look good, but I cannot in good conscience believe this is right, and my experience in lean principles suggests that errors should be eradicated so that the actual problems come to the surface. Managing this way seems difficult when the rest of my operation is not invested or even versed in lean thinking or any principles other than showing their boss that they can deliver.


Thankyou for your time

maura's picture
Training Badge

Have you listened to the Massive Workload Increase casts?

Beyond the advice there, I think you need to look at your processes and figure out if there are ways to optimize.  Is this QA proper (in terms of SDLC, process, and defect prevention) or is it a testing shop? 

If it's a testing shop, what are your leads doing to ensure that everyone is working smarter instead of harder?  Are you using risk analysis to make sure you are hitting the important stuff first?  Are you using Orthogonal Arrays or Pairwise analysis to manage your complexity/variables?  Are you taking screenshots as you execute each step of each script?  My team only takes screenshots for scripts that fail, which means we re-run the script if it fails so we can go back and get the screenshots, but that means we can reproduce the defect, so it's kind of a good thing.  Where else are you spinning your wheels on stuff that doesn't buy you much? 

regraham's picture

Thanks for the response,

This is not QA Proper, I would love it to be but it is simply a packing and product validation proces with basic computer op?eration, which is advertised as testing.

Whilst I pust my team for Quality Fast, my opposing team push for speed and ignore the errors they cause which my team then pick up. The benefits to my methods are that I do not need to perform any follow up investigations on my own staff for incorrectly processing their work, and all the reall problems come to the surface, however the other team simply do not bother doing the investigations.

They are praised weekly for their productivity and getting the job done (but aren't doing it right)

I am condemned for not being able to perform to their standard,

The main question is? do i ignore doing it right and impress my boss, or do it right and hope the other team are found out for not doing it properly.

I will listen to Massive Workload Increase casts, and thankyou again for your time.

regraham's picture

 Ok, that cast pretty much nailed it.

I just need to decide what I will get in trouble for.

It doesn't sit well on my conscience however. I feel like I'm just delivering an attitude of Quantity over Quality to my Directs