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Have you ever felt that you were dealing with the same feeling of dread each year when it comes time to gather the resources together to review your change control reports. The unknowns cause you to stress and worry about what you may have missed during the year, what might still be outstanding, or who dropped the ball this time. It takes time to collect all the information and then recheck it to make sure it’s accurate in your new change control report. You know the data is going to be challenged, so it better be right.

The worst part is, by the time all is prepared and ready to go in to the PowerPoint presentation, there is nothing you can change. It’s all a reflection on the past with little room for correction or remediation, your best hope is to paint a picture of the future where you don’t repeat the same mistakes.

Change control reports at QikSolve

We have found at QikSolve, that through the use of Power BI we can collect data from most of the common data sources and services automatically and ensure the data is cleaned and loaded in to a central reporting platform ready to be used with very little effort or time. Allowing us to moderate our actions and behavior during the month not at the end of the project.

As a software development business dealing with Quality control, managing changes is critical to successful outcomes. Power Bi allows reports and analytics to be created without even the touch of a button, we review and understand how our internal change processes are working every week as a group. I personally use it to make sure everyone is on track day to day, and any issues are quickly prioritised and addressed. We combine our excel workbooks with online data to create the powerful reports that meet our needs without spending a cent.

Power BI - Change Control Reports

Using Power Bi for software development reporting

Looking at the literature

Research in to data driven decision making and business intelligence tools, shows that, “the use of BI applications aids a knowledge enterprise by promoting efficiency within an organization, particularly by using analytical methods to provide valuable decision‐making knowledge…” for continuous improvement, cost reduction and most importantly piece of mind.

In the past it has been important to ensure that to effectively implement a traditional business intelligence application you needed to have the whole company involved in maximising the return on investment. With Power BI offering a low cost or even bundled free in to your office 365 subscription, it can be reasonable to start with a small tactical implementation in your quality department.

Darius Hedgebeth, (2007) “Data‐driven decision making for the enterprise: an overview of business intelligence applications”, VINE, Vol. 37 Issue: 4, pp.414-420,https://doi.org/10.1108/03055720710838498

Top 3 metrics for your Change Control Reports

There is evidence to suggest that managing your reporting through powerful BI applications will help you make better decisions and respond faster. But what should you be measuring, and how affect change? At QikSolve we are believers that vanity metrics mean nothing even if they look nice, we want metrics to be based on real objectives with actionable insights.

Objective Metric Alerts Action
1 Maintain and reduce change control duration, to discourage failed implementations. Average days to close a change control Alert for open change control that are greater than average (+10%) already Address any alert change controls weekly and follow up on progress.
2 Good control of systems is shown when changes are planned and well thought out. Emergency changes should be kept to a minimum % of Change controls open due to emergency changes. Trend of changes raised as emergency  month on month is increasing for 3 periods Review change controls raised in past three periods and identify root cause, implement correcting actions.
3 Implementation of changes can result in errors if not properly planned or controlled. Reduce the negative impact of changes by tracking and measuring. Count of Incidents from other QMS systems that were a result of a recently introduced change control in the past 30 days Every incident that is directly related to a change control failure Raise at monthly review meeting and establish root cause and corrections.

See our blog on the Change Control Reports and Metrics for more

Shedding light on to an old challenge

A client we worked with earlier in 2016, was entirely paper based for their Quality management systems, each year they would compile their registers and data in to a report and present to the heads of the business. With the amount of effort it took to compile the data and make sure it was presenting an accurate picture, there was very little time to understand any of the information and no resources available to use that information to make better decisions. One key issue was identifying process bottlenecks, whilst they had the data available, to process it and use it to make improvements to the process took too long and there was no realistic way of measuring it with any meaningful frequency.

The assumption in the business was that the Quality department was taking too long to review and approve changes leading to slips in planned time. Once we loaded the data in to Power Bi and gave them a tool for easily reviewing information, it became clear that there wasn’t one single point of delay, but a systemic issues across the change control process where estimated times were out, the root cause was poor understanding and planning not red tape. Based on the new information, the Quality department created new metrics for how long a change control should take based on the change type and classification of the change, for example a minor document change should take 5 days.

Sharing our knowledge

At QikSolve, we want to help companies make better decisions and be informed about their processes and performance, we believe Power BI offers a powerful solution for small and medium sized businesses to get started. If you would like us to help you on your Power Bi journey get in contact using the Contact Us form and mention Power BI in the message. If you would like to know more about our electronic change control systems read more here.