Assessing the Quality of your Digital Transformation

Written By: Kyler Cheatham
Date: September 1, 2022

Quality assurance is typically our number one recommendation when working with any digital transformation client.

Continuous and independent project audits are important for any digital transformation because they can help ensure that the project is on track to be successful throughout the implementation and beyond. By making sure that the quality of the transformation is high, you can lower risk. Additionally, quality assurance can help identify potential problems early on so that they can be fixed before they cause major issues.

Interestingly enough these quality assessments are often overlooked or not given enough attention. Why? Because they can be costly and time-consuming. But the benefits of having quality assurance in a place far outweigh the costs. In the end, it could mean the difference between a successful transformation and a failed one.

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What is a Quality Assurance Plan?

A quality assurance plan should be tailored to the specific digital transformation project. What goes into a quality assurance plan?

Here are a few key topics/initiatives.

Some key components of an effective quality assurance plan are:

-Outlining the governance framework and roles & responsibilities for all stakeholders

-Defining clear success criteria for the digital transformation project

-Identifying risks and mitigation strategies

-Creating a testing strategy

-Developing communication and escalation plans

-Project Health Check schedule

An effective quality assurance plan will help ensure that the digital transformation is successful by providing clear guidelines, criteria, and processes to follow throughout the project. Following these steps will help minimize risks and ensure that the transformation meets all objectives.

The first step is to take an audit of your entire organization. This will help you to understand the current state of your digital transformation and where there are opportunities for improvement.

Once you have a good understanding of your organization's strengths and weaknesses, you can start working on a plan to address the areas that need improvement. This plan should be tailored to your specific organization and digital transformation project.

Who Executes Quality Assurance Planning?

Quality assurance deliverables should be led by a team of experts who understand digital transformation and how to effectively implement it. This should be an unbiased, technology-agnostic third party. The number one reason Third Stage gets involved in a restoration or failing project is that an organization blindly trusted a vendor or system integrator to manage their project.

This is nothing against these partners, they're important to the overall success of the project however, they have biases and financial implications that distort their view of the transformation. A vendor's goal is to increase their footprint in your organization by selling you more of their products or services. They're not looking at the project from a 30,000-foot view to make sure it will be successful.

Internal stakeholders also don't typically have the experience to identify potential red flags or are too close to the project to be objective. This is where independent third-party experts come in to provide an objective view of digital transformation.

Think about buying a house. You don't let the current owner do the final inspection, you hire an independent company. That seems ridiculous that the current owner has a motive to sell, so they may try to put a positive spin on the inspection or gloss over anything wrong with the property.

Similarly, the relator also doesn't executive an inspection. One, because they may not have the necessary architectural insight to understand or identify potential problems. And two, because they are also financially invested in the sale.

An effective inspection requires an independent, unbias, third-party expert. This need seems so obvious in the real estate example but is often overlooked in the technology or when purchasing software. Get in front of this common mistake by engaging an additional partner to ensure your project is optimized for success.

This team will work with all stakeholders in the organization to ensure that everyone understands the objectives of the quality assurance plan and how it will be executed.

They will also be responsible for creating clear success criteria, defining risks and mitigation strategies, developing a testing strategy, and creating communication and escalation plans. The quality assurance team should be independent of the digital transformation project team to ensure impartiality and objectivity.

When it comes to digital transformation, there is no room for error. That's why having a quality assurance plan in place is so important. By taking the time to assess the quality of your digital transformation project, you can avoid costly mistakes and ensure a successful transformation.

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When Should Quality Assurance Planning Take Place?

Ideally, quality assurance planning should take place before the digital transformation project begins. This will ensure that all stakeholders are aware of the importance of quality assurance and have buy-in from the start. Think of this as insurance for your project.

You won't purchase a Porche and drive it without insurance as, if you wreck it, will be far more costly than the insurance premium. The same goes for a digital transformation project, by investing in quality assurance up front, you are protecting your investment and ensuring a successful transformation.

If you're already in the midst of a digital transformation project, it's not too late to put a quality assurance plan in place. It's better late than never and will still provide valuable insights and protection for your project.

Quality assurance, such as Project Health checks should also be a continuous process throughout the duration of the project. As the project evolves, the quality assurance plan should be updated to reflect changes in scope, risks, and objectives.

What Are The Benefits of Quality Assurance Planning?

There are numerous benefits of having a quality assurance plan in place for your digital transformation project. Some of the most significant benefits include:

· Ensuring a successful digital transformation: By taking the time to assess the quality of your project, you can avoid costly mistakes and ensure a successful transformation.

· Improved communication: A quality assurance plan will improve communication between all stakeholders involved in the project. This enhanced communication will help to prevent misunderstandings and miscommunication.

· Reduced risks: By identifying risks upfront and developing mitigation strategies, you can reduce the overall risks associated with your digital transformation project.

· Unbiased recommendations: In having an independent, third party help assess your current plan and strategies will likely result in improved project optimization forced on your business goals only.

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A restoration project is not only incredibly expensive but can have other, less measurable, but significant impacts. These include the interruption of business continuity, loss of customer confidence, employee trust, and reputational damage. Quality assurance planning can help to avoid these costly impacts by identifying risks upfront and developing mitigation strategies.

It is important to have a quality assurance plan in place when performing a digital transformation to avoid any costly mistakes and set your project up for success.

If you have questions regarding project health checks or quality optimization in general, please feel free to reach out to me directly at kyler.cheatham@thirdstage-consulting.com. I am happy to be an informational resource for your digital transformation.

Also, I highly recommend you download our newly released 2023 Digital Transformation Report. This asset is packed full of digital transformation statistics, insights, and recommendations.

Author:
Kyler Cheatham
Kyler Cheatham is a digital artist and innovator who is always thinking of new ways to improve the world around her. As the Global Marketing Director at Third Stage Consulting, she uses her creativity and tech-savvyness to help businesses reach their target audiences. Kyler is also a thought leader in the digital marketing space, and she loves sharing her knowledge with others. She is also a mother of two young children, which has given her a unique perspective on balancing work and family life.
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