You may play a role in quality assessments

Fermilab’s Office of Quality and Best Practices has an assessment program you might be asked to participate in.

We are all subject to assessments as we go through life. Doctor check-ups, school exams, credit checks and job interviews, to name a few. At Fermilab we also conduct quality assessments, that focus on the implementation of management systems, not individuals. These assessments are required contractually by the Department of Energy.

In order to efficiently carry out these reviews at Fermilab, the Office of Quality and Best Practices, or OQBP, has developed an assessment program. This program consists of internal assessments of Fermilab organizations and systems by trained and qualified assessors. These assessors are OQBP quality engineers and division, section and center quality assurance representatives. Management receives an assessment report that describes findings that are procedures or practices that need fixing. These are areas that present opportunities for improvement and commendable practices that merit praise.

The main data gathering technique used during an assessment is interviewing. If you are interviewed as part of an assessment, what should you do? First, remember that the purpose of the interview is to gather data about a process or system and it is not about finding fault with an individual. Be honest in your responses and answer only the question that the assessor asks. Take time to think before answering the question and if something is unclear, ask for clarification. It is OK to say, “I don’t know” or “My manager can answer that.”

For more information on the Fermilab Assessment Program, contact your QAR or the OQBP.

–Edited by John Martzel