PSP’s first-ever employee, Lynsey, has arguably one of the most important jobs within the company: Head of Quality.
After a time away from the company working elsewhere, she re-joined the business in 2021 where she now spins many plates: software testing, business analysis, customer support and quality auditing.
After attending a company-funded course, Lynsey became PSP’s third qualified Internal Auditor and her ‘Head of Quality’ role ensures that every team member in the business follows their procedures, has all of their quality documentation up to date and have all the resources they need to work at their best.
We asked Lynsey a few questions about her role at PSP and why quality is so important for both the business and its clients.
You were PSP’s first-ever employee! What are the biggest changes you’ve seen at the company in this time?
"Mostly growth and expansion. The company went from having just four employees in an office above an estate agent in Bourne, to moving to a larger office in Spalding and then growing more to be able to purchase a second unit within the same office park. In the last couple of years or so, it's really expanded, especially with the new contracts we've acquired with some of our clients. We've definitely got a lot more people than when I was here before. What has remained the same is the culture of how the team works as a family. I think it’s an important factor."
You left the company for a period and came back in 2021. What made you come back, and how did it feel to walk back through the doors?
"As I was walking through the doors, it kind of felt like I was coming home, in a way. The job at PSP was my first “proper job” after university, I was lucky in that I got a job with my degree and to come back was great for me, as I like the fact that PSP feels like a family. Joe and Brett are also fabulous people to work for and PSP suits my style of working."
As Head of Quality, what are your main responsibilities at PSP?
"To ensure that we are compliant with ISO 9001:2015; the recognised QMS standard. I also ensure that everyone in the business understands quality, respects quality and follows quality. This establishes that all our procedures, policies, and work instructions are adhered to."
Could you briefly explain the auditing process?
"It's a risk-based approach: ‘What is the risk to the business if a particular procedure isn’t followed?’ I take the procedure, I review it, and any associated work instructions and forms. I then come up with a series of questions. I then audit the team who owns the process and they answer the questions by demonstrating the process where possible, I collect evidence to include in the final audit report. I’m not there to catch anybody out or point fingers at anybody, I’m simply auditing a team. Although I'm Head of Quality, they're not necessarily my processes: they're department processes. My job is to make sure that the department knows its processes and follow those processes."
Why is that so important?
"It proves as a business we are complaint to a standard and practising what we preach. Our procedures are there to ensure that we don't cost the business money, or do something wrong which could negatively affect clients. It's important that we adhere to them because they exist to make PSP better than anybody else!"
How does it benefit clients?
"The standard of work that we produce, the standard of our development, the standard of the systems clients get, the testing that we do and the service that we offer; is all driven by the quality documentation we have. Everyone should then get the same experience. So, whether the client comes to us for one project or two to three projects, they should experience the same for all of those projects as they go through the life cycle."
Last year, you played a big part in developing our quality management system and our online academy. What impact have they had on PSP’s standard of quality?
"People are more aware of quality and understand that it’s there for a reason. The Academy makes it easy for people to find important information and training resources, such as videos and guides. On the QMS side of things, it's made my life a lot easier to be able to report and give the management team accurate data on quality. Previously it wasn't reported accurately. There is always room for improvement and more I want to do with our quality management to keep this going and to keep it future-proofed."
You also work with clients. What do you enjoy about that?
"I really enjoy the variety that my role delivers. I don’t always like doing the same thing every day, so I welcome the opportunity to work on client systems, whether it be testing or training the client. I enjoy testing systems and training the clients, to watch them get to know a system. On the flip side, I then enjoy returning to Quality. The variety is important to me."
As a qualified Quality Auditor, what advice would you give to a manager or director looking to perform their own internal quality review?
"As I mentioned before it's a risk-based approach. So, ask yourself ‘What’s the risk to your business if something isn't done or isn't done right?’ What is the impact of that? Is it an impact on resources, cost, profits or your general services? If something isn't done right, is there a service that's going to fall or are your clients going to leave you because you haven't done something in a particular way? Looking at it from a risk-based approach is the best way to describe it. That way you can identify if something was to go wrong, how would you prevent it? Having quality documentation in place helps you to avoid something going wrong for your business."
You said earlier it's not about catching people out but what is done if standards are not met?
"No, it's not, that's not what quality is there for. Although we are there to identify if a procedure/process isn’t being followed we’re not pointing the finger at anybody. If we do identify an issue, we raise this as an NCR non-conformance record, this is documented separately to an audit, and we discuss what actions need to be taken to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future. It could be that someone has put a process in place, and it is not being followed. You then ask, 'Why are you not following it?' Is it out of date? Can it be done better? Is there a different way of doing it? That's the idea of it. Ideally, you don't have any non-conformances there because your processes are so slick that you can just follow them easily. You’re not going to put a process or a procedure in place and it still is the same 10 years later. We know technology changes happen which means your procedures change, and the way of working changes. It's an ever-changing thing and it is something that you do have to keep on top of, because if you don't, it can become quite difficult to get back into form when it gets put on the back burner."
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