Friday, July 9, 2010

Wanted: QA Manager, No experience necessary ???

Sorry, I am not posting a job opening.

But I did see a posting like this on my High School alumni mailing list last year. "QA Manager; perfect for a new grad." As much as I appreciated the efforts of the fellow alumnus who paraphrased the information from his company's internal listing, I must say my initial reaction was dismay.

First, I may sound like an old fart, but is a new college grad really qualified to manage anything?
Second, you just have to question this company's commitment to quality.

I would like to speak to both of these points.
First, the new college grad as manager. This reminds me of a story my father-in-law told me. He worked for a number of years as a shipping clerk for a large pharmaceutical company. Every few years they would bring in a young engineer, fresh out of school, to manage the department. More often than not this young buck, anxious to prove himself, would reorganize the department and its processes - without consulting the current staff. They would then spend the next few months relearning all the reasons they did things the old way. You can imagine this did not foster an atmosphere of cooperation amongst the staff.

Many in the department were very experienced. My father-in-law has exceptional mechanical and organizational skills. But they did not have the automatic respect conferred with a college degree. You know this young engineer brought a useful set of skills and training to the table. But his inexperience led him to disregard a significant resource - the experience of his staff.

I try to think what I might do if I were that young engineer tapped to manage the department. What if I sat the staff down and explained that, since I was new to all this, I decided to consult the best experts I could find. You, the people who have been doing it for years. Chances are good that approach would have yielded some useful efficiency improvements. Chances are better it would have created a significant morale boost and hence productivity improvement.

The thing is, would I have had the wherewithal to take that approach if I did not have the experience I have now?

Next post - what to look for in a Test Engineer.

No comments:

Post a Comment