Tag Archives: Risk

Confession of the Week – We’re not perfect.

I have a confession.  I am an NPR Junkie.  Not your typical Morning Addition and All Things Considered Junkie, but a hard core Junkie.  This American Life.  Snap Judgement. The Moth.  Dinner Party Download.  I just can’t get enough.  It’s sad really.  And I should probably seek help or something.

But the one show I just cannot get enough of is TED Radio Hour.  I think the hook for that show is the back story.  I could watch TED talks for hours, but there is just something fascinating about the introspective provided as part of the Radio Hour.   The dialogue with the speakers during the show can be just as thought-provoking as the talks themselves.

That being said, occasionally, the theme of the show fits nicely with my current thought lines.  This week’s episode [08-22-14] did just that.  Three perspectives on mistakes.  Why they are not necessarily evil, and that while they often suck, a lot of good can come of them.

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In the office of Quality, we see a lot of mistakes. A lot of them.  Some might say that we search endlessly for them (however untrue that might be).

The truth is, the human element is the one factor that the Quality Manager can’t control.  Sure, we can automate the heck out of processes to reduce inconsistencies, but unless you’ve found the holy grail of lab automation,  you are unlikely to fully eliminate mistakes from the laboratory.

The reasoning is simple.  Even the most proficient and effective chemist is going to have a bad day every now and again.  None of us work inside a bubble.  We have distractions far from work that can distract even the best of us into a misstep.

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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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