Challenge: Quality Assurance (QA) professionals risk their reputations when they fail to employ quality principles in time management.
Tip: Walk the talk!
QA professionals are notorious for running out of time when daily tasks chew up their clocks. I know because it happens to me. As quality managers, we commend ourselves for being superb project managers, but for most of us, nothing could be further from the truth.
We need to employ risk management principles while managing our projects. As we begin our week, and even as we start our day, we need to evaluate our need to hurriedly check off tasks against the importance of doing a quality job. We think that communication at our fingertips — cell phones, email, texting — improves our time efficiency. Does it improve our communication efficiency? Sometimes, technology allows you to hurry now and repent at leisure! A simple phone call might take more time, but it can also clarify your message and improve relationships with your peers and employers.
I’m now using a calendar, inserting my tasks where it makes sense. This means acknowledging that some weeks will have more meetings than others, and therefore, less time for accomplishing tasks. It means scheduling a little “fudge” time for actually talking with people, rather than texting or emailing. Know that project interdependencies will consume part of your day; they’re reality, not drudgery.
QA professionals are great at talking about time management. I talk about it all the time, but I’m often guilty of working overtime because I don’t structure my day. I have to face it — I don’t like controls on my day. Few people do. But as a quality professional, I recognize that I am risking my reputation if I don’t employ good project management principles. It’s not fair for me to preach what I don’t practice, is it?
Walt Murray is a quality management and regulatory affairs professional with more than 32 years working with internationally recognized and highly-regulated companies, including J&J, Merck, Pfizer, Stryker, USANA and Del Monte Foods. A Six Sigma Black Belt, Murray is certified (CSSMB) in quality and environmental systems auditing (RAB/QSA/IATCA/IRCA), critical-thinking skills (CTS Facilitator) and process control (SPC/SQC). Having personally performed more than 350 1st/2nd/3rd-party audits for a variety of Fortune 500 life sciences companies, Murray has hosted investigational and systems audits by the FDA, Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) and Health Canada (CMDR). Walt is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and works as an independent expert as he supports regulated clientele for GMP, GLP, IVD, GCP and the cross-disciplinary development of MDSAP companies.