Tag Archives: Quality Assurance

The Ideal QA Manager… Technically writes, technically

I love the wiki on editing.  There are so may different types of editors, each having a different specific task leading to the final product.

It has to be a thankless endeavor, that of an editor.  Much like the QA Manager, the only real attention likely comes when things go wrong.  I know I am quick to judge a professionally published copy that is poorly edited.

I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a laboratory with a staff technical writer, whose sole job it is to write highly technical policies and procedures that define the Quality System.  That said, in my experience, the role of author/editor/publisher often falls on the QA Manager.

As the keeper of all things written among the Quality System, I struggle with this role of author/editor/publisher.  I want to do it all perfectly, all the time.  I have this inkling that my colleagues that review those documents expect the same.  Self-torture, I believe they call it.  A glutton for punishment?  Perhaps.  Honestly, I dabbled in journalism a bit in college, but a career as a writer has never been something I’d envisioned for myself.

I have found, however, that I have a particular interest in doing my part to improve the written communication in the laboratory.  It may not be terribly exciting material, but my hope is that I can make reading those mandatory SOPs less painful.  And those documents can be painful.  It seems that every document I pull for review needs serious work.

In this vein, I recently had an epiphany.  After spending the weekend with my blind parents, I thought that I would use the “text-to-speech” function of Windows to “proof-read” a certain document I’m currently working on.  I was extremely excited about this idea for about a week.  I even mentioned it to a few of my colleagues on Friday.  And then I saw this.  Grrr…  it just goes to show, there is no unique problem, only solutions.

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The ideal QA Manager… Communicates well.

Yesterday, I reflected on the challenges that many of us encounter while we are interacting lab personnel, particularly when it comes to communication.  The ability to bridge that gap between QA Speak and the lab is one of the fundamental soft skills that a strong QA Manager must embrace.

In keeping with this idea of soft skills, and in honor of the upcoming football season, I propose that there are certain traits that truly effective QA Managers carry that cannot be highlighted in a job description, or on a resume.  Instead, they can only be observed, in certain context, as displaying true potential.

This concept was recently cauterized for me while I was reading Blind Side: Evolution of the Game.  Aside from the story of Michael Oher, the book discusses at length the position of the Left Tackle, and its role in the game as we know it today.  Now, I am well aware that the there are opinions that counter the idea that the Left Tackle is the most valuable position in football.  But I’d like to play on this analogy for the purpose of this post, and a few to come.

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Drive Time Reading

I have a 45 minute commute to the lab each morning.  About the same on the drive home.  I’d like to say that I’m not bitter about that, but considering that the recent relocation of my large__3411775886laboratory extended my commute from 10 minutes round trip, it is difficult to argue otherwise.  It was a difficult adjustment to make.  Admittedly, a don’t think I’ve completely adjusted just yet.

At a certain point, at the nudging of a few friends, I considered the idea of using audiobooks to help pass the time.  Initially, I was in favor of the idea.  I like books.   After researching the audiobook options, I couldn’t say that I was convinced.  Books on CD were cumbersome, and the discs always seemed to end at the most inopportune time.  I also was not excited about growing a CD collection.

Audible seemed to be an option, but I just could not make the financial commitment.    I’d gotten wind of an app that linked to the local library, and allowed for the download of audiobooks.  I downloaded OverDrive (available on a plethora of platforms).  The only thing I was missing was a library card (I know…  I’ve come to realize that Library Cards are highly underrated).  Once I procured my brand new Library Card, I immediately found the glass slipper I’ve been searching for to make my daily commute much more bearable.

I’ve used the OverDrive Media console for about 6 weeks now, and life is so much more interesting.  And I might even add that I may be a bit more pleasant as a result.

My reading list, so far has included:

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