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Tel: +49 7223 28148-0
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7 Steps to a successful CAQ software introduction

If you want to achieve the ambitious goal of running a marathon, buying good running shoes is one of the most important basics. But you won't run your best time with them alone. With a training plan tailored to your needs and a motivating trainer with whom you repeat your exercise units, you will master the sporting challenge.

The same applies to the introduction of new software to help your company achieve a goal or solve a problem. Just like a running shoe, the software must be "tried on" - but selection and installation are only the beginning. The whole thing will only be profitable if the software tool is backed by a competent partner who supports you comprehensively in achieving your goals.

The following 7 rules of CAQ software implementation are your reliable "training plan" and will help you to successfully cross the finish line.

Step 1 - The Analysis

In many cases, potential for improvement in the company, e.g. through the accumulation of complaints, is quickly discovered. From there an employee is assigned to get a software for quality assurance, which it will then already arrange. Unfortunately, the result is far from it! Take your time for a comprehensive cause analysis. Collect information from all stages of the product life cycle and analyze the origin of the visible problem. With this knowledge you will then look for the right tool to solve the problem. In the example of the marathon runner, an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise have led to a visible fitness problem that he is now tackling in a targeted manner. A treadmill analysis supports him in making the right choice of sports shoes.

Step 2 - The S.M.A.R.T. Principle

Formulate goals for your software project! The S.M.A.R.T. principle helps you to set effective goals. The principle stands for setting specific, measurable, attractive, realistic and timely goals. Use it to create your roadmap for the project and use it to regularly check whether you are still on the right track. Write down your wishes and requirements in a specification sheet. This will help you and your (future) software partner to design a solution. Our marathon runner has a S.M.A.R.T. goal by participating in the next city run over the marathon distance. A change in diet and regular training set milestones on his way to the goal.

Step 3 - The Resources

Implementing CAQ Software is not possible without the use of resources. The well thought-out and commissioned software requires someone who is familiar with it or takes the time to
learn how to use it and the methods depicted. Only then can the software be used profitably. Determine suitable employees, the so-called key users, during the introduction phase. For the project itself, the same applies: A project team must be put together that is familiar with the respective topics and is released for project work or can take the time in addition to the
daily business if necessary. Do not underestimate the capacity requirements of your project! In the case of our marathon runner, it is above all the time he takes for running, training and
research on healthy nutrition. With his family he has found valuable companions.

Step 4 - The Expectations

Remain realistic with your expectations!

  1. Software is not a panacea for all problems It is not the software that changes the process in your company and makes everything better. The team has to critically question and, if necessary, adjust the existing processes so that the software as a problem-solving tool can play out its full benefit!
  2. Suppliers cannot be solely responsible. The introduction of a complex CAQ software is a multi-layered project - even if standard tools are involved. A trusting, cooperative customer-supplier relationship is the basis for project success. For a successful implementation, work closely with the supplier and plan for a certain amount of time and effort. With an open and appreciative approach, even obstacles in the project can be overcome together.
  3. Everything will not go as planned. Solution can be found for most problems and many of them are not relevant to the big picture. Do not let your project fail because of unimportant trivialities. Starting with an 80% solution and developing it further is better than waiting for the perfect solution.

Our marathon runner knows that great running shoes alone are not enough. He has to change his lifestyle. This is his personal responsibility. But he does not let setbacks discourage him.

Step 5 - Communication

The introduction of software is associated with changes. This can lead to the loss of "beloved habits" and thus to problems of acceptance. Therefore, communicate early on about the background and goals of the software project. Make affected parties into participants and inform them regularly about all important progress and changes. Plan meetings carefully and bring structure to project communication. Determine who should receive which information and when and record the exchange of information. Communication is an essential success factor of every project! Our marathon runner talks openly with his environment about his project.

Step 6 - The Documentation

The documentation of the project may be annoying, but it is a basic component that you should get used to from the beginning and not neglect. As soon as project managers change or employees join the project during the ongoing process, it becomes tedious to gather the necessary information and the project progress stagnates. Put yourself in the position of a project manager or employee who is supposed to continue or collaborate on a project you have started: Which documents would you like to have in order to be able to quickly get involved in the project? Take these considerations as a requirement for the documentation! Our marathon runner documents his progress with a fitness tracker and constantly
updates his nutrition and training plan. In this way he sees not only improvements but also further potential. That gives him additional motivation.

Step 7 - Support

Do not be afraid to seek external support. You may not be familiar with the details of all parts of the project - especially if new paths are being taken. If you calculate the time required and consider that many other tasks will be left undone if you have to work too intensively on something new, it is usually worthwhile to call in an external specialist. Your software supplier usually offers consulting and support services such as workshops and training. The external view also helps you not to lose sight of the big picture. Our marathon runner has received comprehensive advice from a qualified fitness trainer, and with his or her support the training plan has been developed and monitored.

Conclusion

If you are facing a challenge with your company and want to meet it with the help of a CAQ program, don't limit yourself to the mere purchase, installation and configuration of the software! Approach the project systematically in order to achieve a sustainable problem solution. First analyze the cause(s) of the problem. Then set concrete solutions or goals that follow the well-known S.M.A.R.T. principle. Plan realistically for the manpower and time of your project participants. Afterwards you should get rid of false expectations and start to establish effective communication in the daily project routine. The final steps of a successful software introduction consist of documenting all progress in detail and, if necessary, consulting external specialists for open questions. In this way, you will achieve exactly what you have chosen your new software for - a marathon runner who crosses the finish line in personal best time.

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