News and opinion

Roy Murphy: Quality Assurance or Solution Assurance?

News and opinion | Georgina | 12 January 2023

Roy Murphy, Partner at Endava, discusses the programme-vital differences between Quality and Solution Assurance.

Make no mistake: Business Transformation programmes are both expensive, time consuming and complex.

They’re complex even for experienced programme delivery people, but in most cases, many of the delivery team members have neither been previously involved with a similarly complex programme, nor have experience with the Agile delivery methodology or the vendor’s software solution.  Little wonder then, that we see so many programmes drift off course, typically due to three or four classic reasons around process, communication, team dynamics and people. Sometimes, the reasons for a problem are the product of a conflict of interest, between external parties and the client.

To compound these issues, it’s not unusual for those responsible for delivery to not recognise when a programme RAG status becomes a little more colourful than it ought to be, or worse, simply putting their heads in the sand, hoping things will work themselves out on their own.  The consequences of this inexperience can be extremely expensive, from a reputation, operations, and budget perspective. Fortunately, the vast majority of these reasons are entirely avoidable.

If a programme’s sponsors become concerned, they may ask Endava to step in and conduct some ‘Quality Assurance’, to assess the overall health of the programme. The problem with this, is that the event/s that triggered the Quality Assurance check have already occurred, meaning that it’s probably too late. What the client is really asking for, is a damage assessment report and potential recovery recommendations.

The delays and cost of re-work as a result of a review can incur avoidable and significant expense, both directly as well as on dependencies.

Moving across to Solution Assurance

Prevention is better than cure however, and conscientious programme owners (as well as those who have had their fingers burned through previous experience), recognise the value of engaging an organisation that has successfully delivered these complex programmes many times before. An organisation that will embed itself in the programme’s teams, from Inception and design, through build and testing, and all overlaid with communication at SteerCo. An organisation that uses its qualified eyes and ears to pro-actively protect the client from delinquent process, communications, and governance, as well as ensuring compliance with ‘best practice’ standards that optimise operational performance, and the complexities of BAU support and future upgrades. An organisation that is able to provide pro-active Solution Assurance.

The benefits of Solution Assurance realised

To realise the promised value that the Business Case should deliver, while driving towards a new Target Operating Model, our clients want to mitigate risk and avoid the many common pitfalls that will compromise a successful delivery. To do this effectively, we need to control and manage the risks, before they become expensive issues.

We call it, “Getting it right, first time” and by helping our clients achieve this, we’ve saved them millions in unnecessary rework, cross-programme delays and expensive BAU support.