How We Embedded Quality into Our Corporate DNA
by Sean Cate, Director of Quality Programs
Technatomy Corporation was founded in July 2000 as an information technology solutions and services company. Our founder’s vision was to provide positive results to government and commercial enterprises that would lead to satisfied customers supporting further business growth and increased profits.
Today, Technatomy is focused on the anatomy of successful business operations. Without a successful outcome, a client will receive no value from a project. Common sense management tells us that getting the job done right the first time saves money, time, and resources. Just as you would expect your physician to know your anatomy in order to treat you, the anatomy of successful business operations means knowing your customer inside and out so you may focus on the issues and concerns that may keep your customer up at night or that simply require outside assistance to track and resolve.
But just how do we achieve positive results? To achieve positive business outcomes on our contracted services, Technatomy has focused on three areas critical for reliable service delivery: People, Processes, and Technology. This triad has been our corporate focus since Day One to achieve quality results. If we have implemented each successfully, we would expect to achieve quality results.
The tremendous growth of Technatomy since its incorporation is one indication we have been successful in this pursuit. Our people, processes, and technology are industry-best and are provided with one goal in mind: complete customer satisfaction.
As the Director of Quality Programs at Technatomy Corporation, I have been responsible for the Processes leg of the People-Processes-Technology triad. It is our processes, procedures, templates, and work instructions that are addressed in this Blog, but the other two legs are at least as important to the Quality Culture we have instituted at Technatomy Corporation.
Our people are our most important resource. It is not enough to hire the right people; a company must be able to retain its personnel to provide consistent, quality service to the customer. Technatomy realizes that this goal can best be accomplished and sustained through continuing corporate efforts to hire and retain those management and technical personnel considered vital for success. In short, we hire the quality people – the right person for the right job – and provide them with the tools necessary for success. We then empower our employees to act individually and as part of a team to ensure the success of the client and our company.
Our Chief Technology Officer, Bruno Pesanti, is focused on the Technology leg of the triad. According to the CTO, Technatomy is a technology-agnostic company. The breadth and depth of our technology experience employs the use of a variety of well-established and proven technologies and tools to support such technical capabilities as the following:
- Network and Telecom Services
- Application and System Integration Services
- Information Assurance (IA) Support (Certification and Accreditation)
- Security (Vulnerability Prevention)
- Enterprise Architecture
- Operations and Maintenance Support Services
- Financial, Budget, and Cost Support
- Systems Engineering Support
- Customer Relation Management
- Enterprise Data Strategy Support
- Test and Documentation Support
- Audit Readiness Management
Our technology capability stems from the talent that is recruited with the technical skill and experience necessary to support a variety of services using cutting-edge technology tools to facilitate a streamlined process execution. The technology used by Technatomy to support organizations is determined by several contributing factors such as the level of maturity that organization possesses, the goals and objectives they are trying to reach, and what operating budgets with which they are bound and constrained.
The Process leg of the triad provides the roadmap and direction for our people to utilize our technology to address customer requirements leading to customer satisfaction goals. To achieve these successful business outcomes, Technatomy has adopted the industry-best practices found in the Quality programs established by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). ISO/IEC standards are internationally recognized and assure our customers we have quality control processes in place that provide proven quality to our products and services. The SEI’s Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI®) processes enhance our ISO/IEC Quality Procedures and consist of best practices that address the development and maintenance of our IT software and hardware products and services.
Rather than merely being compliant with the ISO and CMMI standards, Technatomy is proud of the fact that our Quality Management System (QMS) has been audited and registered by an international registrar organization. Technatomy has documented all of its business procedures and has processes in place for continual improvement with the goal of providing consistent customer satisfaction of our products and services. Our documented procedures add tremendous value to our service delivery: by doing things right the first time, we eliminate costly rework and delays.
- ISO 9001 provides for a Quality Management System
- SEI CMMI-Development processes enhance our QMS
- ISO/IEC 20000-1 provides for an Information Technology Service Management System
- ISO/IEC 27001 provides for an Information Security Management System
In 2005 Technatomy Corporation began to fully implement the formal process-based quality program of the ISO 9001:2000 Standard. To do this, a thorough scrub of the ISO requirements defined in the Standard was conducted. Several new programs were established to conform to the requirements and an evaluation of the entire program was performed by an independent consultant with all deficiencies addressed prior to a Registration Audit.
Our ISO 9001:2000 Quality Management System Initial Registration was successfully conducted December 13 – 14, 2005. The Certificate of Registration was issued December 14, 2005 and was valid for 3 years pending successful annual Surveillance Audits.
With our Business Process Cycle now documented and registered as a Quality Management System (QMS), Technatomy began the complex task of firmly embedding the processes and associated templates and work instructions into how we conducted business: in short, embedding Quality into our Corporate DNA.
Existing contracts at the time of registration included work for the United States Marine Corps, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Defense Logistics Agency. Each Program Manager was trained on our newly-established processes with emphasis placed on quality project planning and performance, continual improvement, and achieving customer satisfaction. To this end, each project manager established and maintained a Project Management Plan, sharing the contents with the customer, developed a robust customer engagement plan, and began thorough quality audits of deliverables. A culture of quality began to permeate into each project:
- A Quality Lifecycle of Project Quality Planning, Project Quality Assurance, and Project Quality Control became rooted in our Project Management System.
- Our PMs became familiar faces in front of our customers engaging in “How goes it” discussions and offering assistance, within contract scope, with any troubling issues;
- Project cost, schedule, and performance metrics were established, tracked, analyzed, and reported at least monthly. Immediate corrections were applied if anything slipped below defined thresholds;
- Senior management became directly involved in project oversight with the CEO paying frequent visits, at least monthly, to our customers and project teams;
- Quality audits of our processes and deliverables were conducted;
- Customer satisfaction was measured and tracked.
Our Continual Improvement program considered industry trends and qualifications required for an increasing numbers of business opportunities. To stay ahead of our Small-Business competition, Technatomy invested in the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute Capability Maturity Model Integration for Development model to extend and enhance its QMS to include the CMMI-Dev Ver 1.2 Processes established for software development, but easily adapted to our service and Program Management Office (PMO) projects. In 2007, Technatomy conducted the CMMI-Development, v1.2 (CMMI-Dev) Standard CMMI Appraisal Method for Process Improvement (SCAMPI) and was appraised at Capability Level 3.
The CMMI-Dev processes were particularly beneficial in their emphasis on customer requirements development and management. By focusing exactly on what the customer really wanted on a contract, we were better able to satisfy those requirements.
To further establish itself as an industry leader, Technatomy Corporation implemented and registered its Information Technology Service Management System (ITSMS) under the ISO/IEC 20000-1:2005 Standard in 2011, and its Information Security Management System (ISMS) under the ISO/IEC 27001:2005 Standard in 2013. Each ISO Standard was subsequently revised as they were re-issued by the governing organization. The same is true of the CMMI-Dev model. They are now:
- ISO 9001:2008 QMS (ISO recently released the Revised ISO 9001:2015 Standard that will be implanted by Technatomy during 2016 and 2017.)
- SEI CMMI-Dev Ver 1.3
- ISO/IEC 20000-1:2011 ITSMS
- ISO/IEC 27001:2013 ISMS
As each new standard was adopted, our Project Managers and project teams integrated their project artifacts into the new systems. New employee and Annual Refresher training ensures that Technatomy employees are aware of their role in Technatomy’s Culture of Quality. Continual improvement of our Management Systems assures quality remains embedded in the Corporate DNA.