The Psychology of Quality and More
Assessment RAG Guideline and Template
Audit and assessment is one of the key activities of quality professionals as they confirm that the company is following the standards and guidelines which it professes to adhere. The Assessment RAG Guideline and Template offers a simple and clear way of scoring and creating focus in improving the overall system.
A helpful tool during assessing and feedback is the ‘traffic light’ system, where each item is marked as Red, Amber or Green (RAG) and where:
In practice, the use of these strict meanings may be moderated such that Green means ‘good enough’. If it meant ‘perfect’ then in most assessments, nothing would be Green. The goal of assessments should be to give focus, and this is where the skill of the assessor is important in selecting the most important areas for Red and Amber action, of which there should be a manageable number. A large number of Reds and Ambers could still appear, but only in exceptional circumstances. If many items are Red, then this means the system is in severe trouble and probably needs a complete rebuild. Many Ambers means that while the system is usefully operational, there is so much work to be done that this likely to need significant additional resourcing to bring it up to scratch.
Traffic-light Guidance Table
To provide guidance both for assessors and people being assessed, it can be useful to create a traffic light guidance system, where there is a description for each of Red, Amber and Green against each point in the standard. In creating this, it can be helpful to engage people being assessed in agreeing the descriptions as this is not only an educational exercise but helps keep things sensible and accurate with regard to the standard.
For the actual assessment, a table can also be used in which assessment notes are given against each point in the standard, followed by a RAG rating and recommended action to return the item to a Green status.
The table format helps keep the assessment notes brief and relevant to the section in the standard. The RAG rating is done with reference to the Guidance Table, although the assessor should have leeway to give an intelligent rating based on experience rather than just the words given in the guidance. This is can cause confusion but can be very helpful in the discussion that it may trigger as the assessor discusses further the reason for the rating. The recommendation also may be challenged and should always make sense in terms of the resource available and management commitment to improvement.
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This article first appeared in Quality World, the journal of the Chartered Quality Institute
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