Informs and engages the UNB community on IT developments and news

New Quality Assurance and Process Management

Author: ITS

Posted on Nov 19, 2010

Category: IT Announcements , TechSpeak in Translation , Our Community , Projects

cartoon man in shower Article written by: Janice G. El-Bayoumi Head of Quality Assurance and Process Management Integrated Technology Services University of New Brunswick The new Quality Assurance and Process Management function started in ITS on Aug 1, 2010. As you may know, I took on the challenge of developing the function on that date. You may be asking yourself – what the heck is that function supposed to do? And what has Janice been spending her time doing over the past few months? I will attempt to answer those questions in two blog posts, the first (this one) answering – What the heck is that function supposed to do? And the second post addressing the question of what has been accomplished over the past few months. So what IS the function suppose to do and why? The function is still being defined, but clearly, the consists of at least two components: Quality Assurance and Process Management (hence the job title). I would broaden this to define "process" as anything that needs review on a periodic basis including such things as standards, best practices, and procedures. So, on to the description...., in my terms.... Quality Assurance means: regularly reviewing ITS policies, processes, standards, best practices, procedures and guidelines to make sure they are current, effective and achieving the purpose they were put in place for, in the best way possible. Process Management means identifying, understanding the purpose of, putting in place and then managing the processes needed to effectively and efficiently achieve ITS's mission and vision. (Now you know the Why?) In practical terms that means: every process (standard, guideline etc.) needs to be documented, have the purpose of the process identified, have a processes owner, have a way to determine if the process is working or not and have a next review date – so ITS can to improve the way we operate in a continuous, iterative way. My job is to help with process identification and development, ensuring all process components are in place and then – for the management component - to ensuring reviews occur as scheduled. Let's take a practical example. I've recently documented the Financial Service IT Audit – a process ITS undergoes every year. When documenting it I:
  • Wrote down the purpose of the Financial Services IT Audit (too long to write down here)
  • Assigned a process owner - me
  • Determined success criteria and how it would be measured - info to AVP-ITS by Sept and Jan, actionable items entered in dept work plans by December
  • Set a review period - 1 year after process put in place, and
  • Entered the next review date into the departmental QA&PM business cycle schedule I've developed to make sure reviews take place when they should
These are all process management steps. The QA part will take place when the actual process review occurs. As you can tell – Quality Assurance and Process Management touches every aspect of ITS. To help, I am using a framework called COBIT (Control Objectives for IT – google it for more info). This framework breaks all things IT down into 32 broad processes and provides information to position each process on a continuum from Non-exist (don't even know what it is) to Optimized. By figuring out where each ITS process currently fits on the continuum we can identify what steps to take to improve it, targeting ITS problem areas and easy to improve areas first. COBIT also ties all ITS work to UNB Business goals so we know why we are doing things. Still not clear? Stop by and we can talk about the role. I'm still figuring it out – you may be able to add some insight!