‘’I feel the need-the need for speed’’. If you were to drop this quote at a dinner party, you would get an in-unison ‘’Yes! Me too’’. There is an ever-growing need to get things done quickly whether it be reaching the office, finishing a lunch or arranging a product release.
Consider this. An eLearning company has invested in the right tools, robust processes and bright people but struggles with quality. The project manager, an awesome but never-the- less stressed fellow, blames this on the brutal business climate that demands lesser turnaround time urging development teams to work faster rather than ensuring that quality is a priority. So the company is left with a tired team and an unhappy client with no dramatic increase in sales given the size of investment the business has made. How can the company, or more appropriately the project manager, improve the project success rates while keeping the team and the client happy? Easy or not easy?
Here are our 3 pragmatic approaches by which ANY project manager can turn the tide in his favour, making sure that business requirements are met by delivering courses that satisfy user experience and have fewer defects.
Of top importance is the development model employed by the company, which puts the quality check points at the right places. The ADDIE model of development is the most popular one amongst the different methodologies for the creation of trainings. However, a quality management process based on this approach is in all likelihood flawed, as evaluation and validation happens only at the end of the development process. “Quality cannot be sprinkled onto an application right before it gets exposed to your clients,” write analysts Margo Visitacion and Mike Gualtieri. Compare this to a new model- V-model; here every development phase is associated with a corresponding testing phase. Quality assurance should not be a process that comes into effect at the end of the product development but be an on-going routine that essentially aligns the pieces of a puzzle perfectly.
The buzzword here is agile! Teamwork is essential in delivering a great product and an agile team embodies the ‘we’ rather than the ‘I’. An agile team is characterized by a cross-functional group of individuals that includes project manager, designers, developers, marketers and support. Rather than in hierarchy, the team plods together towards a common goal. With such motivated and empowered individuals, organizations can scale business heights quickly and efficiently (Remember the need for speed!).
A key ingredient of an eLearning course, more focus needs to be put on the design to impress the target audience right away. In the course of design it is easy to lose mind of the objectives and client requirements. Industry experts recommend having a reliable evaluation tool that will systematically and accurately assist developers, visualizers and instructors to implement and make the course more powerful, concise and goal-oriented. QA plays a pivotal role in review and validation of objectives, content, structure, assessment, technology and design of the product.
Essentially, quality must move beyond the purview of just QA professionals to become an integrated part of the entire life cycle of the product. These 3 ways can help control defects while meeting deadlines and maintaining quality.