During the Quality Assurance phase, the project’s quality is reviewed and hopefully approved and the project is moved toward official release. Keep in mind this document describes a very structured QC or QA review with specific responsibilities prior to official rollout. How much of this pertains to all projects or any projects really depends on several things including the size and budget of the project, the structure of your organization, and the customer’s wishes.
The people responsible for quality assurance receive the finished project from IT. They then install and test the project using the documentation created for it to ensure that the project meets the Design Document specifications created by IT, and that the documentation meets end-user.
Separately, the person(s) responsible for corporate communications and business development may create an official Project Announcement Plan. This plan includes all of the deliverables necessary to announce a project including due dates and projection dates. If applicable, an advertising plan, press release plan, and press tour is scheduled. This all, of course, depends on the project. Business Development identifies, contacts, and signs up beta sites. The Project Manager creates a plan detailing how the project will be released to users. The role of each project team involved in the Quality Assurance phase is listed below.
IT is the functional area responsible for programming, managing, and integrating the project’s hardware and software. They are also responsible for defining, designing, and developing a project, as well as for conducting its initial testing and fixing any errors before it is released. IT is the key member on the project team and needs to be available to provide technical information both written and verbal to all members of the team.
Communications is the functional area responsible for all communications inside and outside of the company. Smaller companies do not need a separate communications person for internal projects; the Project Manager will handle all the internal corporate communication. Larger companies with offices scattered around the country or around the globe will need a person to provide communications to end-users. If the project being developed will be made available to people outside the company, the person responsible for corporate communications will need to interact with the company’s public relations agency, advertising agency, industry analysts, and other outside agencies.
The Business Development person is responsible for directing and driving the project, for analyzing the industry and the competition, and for understanding the user. Business Development works with all areas of the company to make sure the project is focused on the user and is presented in the best possible light.
The Project Manager’s responsibility is to make sure each member of the team understands his or her interdependencies. The Project Manager facilitates communications among departments, as well as manages processes and confirms that the deliverables within each stage of the project life cycle have been met. When deliverables slip, it is the responsibility of the Project Manager to escalate this information and to facilitate resolution. In smaller companies, the Project Manager’s duties usually incorporate those of Business Development and Communications. The Project Manager creates the Release Plan. The Release Plan outlines the procedures needed to get the project out the door.
Quality Assurance (QA) is responsible for defining, designing, developing, and implementing a test plan. QA tests the project to confirm that it meets the design specifications outlined in the Design Document. QA uses the manuals and helps files developed by Documentation to ensure that they correctly explain how to install and use the project and identify how errors are to be handled. QA is responsible for managing the user test procedures and for confirming that bugs have been fixed.
Help Desk is responsible for defining, designing, and developing a detailed plan that articulates how the company will support a project after it is released. The Support Plan defines how Help Desk personnel are trained, how users will access help, how bugs will be tracked and fixed after release, what training will be available to end users, and how updates and fixes will be sent to users.
Documentation is responsible for defining, designing, and developing all the documentation required to install, support, and answer any questions a user may have regarding a project. The documentation defines what publications will be produced in the Doc Plan; these may include online help, E-Learning courses, or manuals. Documentation works closely with IT to develop these documents and works closely with QA to ensure that documents are appropriate for end users.
Although not on the team, users are so important to the success of the project that they must be mentioned as a fringe team member. Users are the people who will use what the team is developing. If the final solution doesn’t match well with the end users needs, the project will ultimately be considered a failure.