Professionalism, 5S and Six-Sigma are some of the words we get to hear when we speak of quality in any organisation. Kurukshetra having successfully secured the ISO 9001:2015 certification successfully now, The Guindy Times had a brief chat with the Student Director of Quality Assurance and Control team, Mr Balachandar, final year Geoinformatics.
GT: First of all, to get a glimpse of your functioning, tell us in brief about your work.
BC: The functioning of QAC team can be split as QA (Quality Assurance) and QC (Quality Control). We are the team that takes care of the work flow, and ensures that the work specified is done in a streamlined manner without glitches.
GT: QAC appears to be a new team in the proceedings in the CTF structure. How important do you think it is in a festival of this magnitude?
BC: Well, not exactly (a new team). The team was called QMS (Quality Management Systems) till 2014. The team was scrapped and all its functions came under the purview of the HR (Human Relations) team for the last two years. The importance of QAC can be felt to a greater extent in large industries. Even here, there might be limits to the extent of authority of the other teams. We make sure that the internal collaboration goes on smoothly, coordinate the work amongst different verticals.
GT: How will you differentiate QA and QC from CTF’s perspective?
BC: Assurance is basically what I explained earlier. Making sure the work gets done to the desired quality aspects comes under the assurance part. Control is when there is even the slightest of deviations from the output expected. We identify the pain points and start measures to rectify the errors, ensuring that they do not happen again. For example, if there is a problem with designs and featuring of posters in social media sites, we make sure we sit with both the concerned teams and sort out the issue.
GT: What was your role towards CTF claiming the ISO certification?
BC: There were actually 8 circles (groups) which took care of the ISO process, each consisting of one committee member. I was the head of one of the circles, which consisted of the QAC, HR and Finance teams. I collected all the necessary documents from these teams and submitted it, coordinating effectively with the other two teams also in the process. It was also the responsibility of the QAC team to make sure that the quality standards as expected by the ISO was met appropriately. There was also a lot of documentation procedures which we had to carry out.
GT: Was there anything you did in the run-up to the ISO certification?
BC: Yes, definitely. This year, a separate team called the Internal Auditing was formed especially for working towards the ISO certification. Till last year, the auditing work came under the purview of the Finance team. The formation of a new team meant they could function for the sole purpose of the certification.
GT: Was the AU brand instrumental in claiming ISO certification?
BC: Nice question. Actually, if you noticed well, you could have observed that nowhere has the Anna University tag been mentioned even for marketing. The primary motto this time is to brand CEG distinctively, and we have been making steady progress towards that. Also, since we have UNESCO patronage, the ISO certification would act as a further boost.
GT: Do you embark on a set of short-term and long-term goals? If so, please elaborate.
BC: The short-term goal, as it is, is to make K! ’17 a grand success, making it stand out as the best among all the eleven editions. Long-term goals would be to sustain the quality aspects in the upcoming editions too.
GT: How do you think does K! ‘17 differ from its predecessors?
BC: Well, the ISO certification speaks for itself. This year, we are markedly different from the other technical festivals visibly. The first VR-enabled website, K!arnival Awards and many other things speak volumes about the marked development.
GT: Can you throw light on your coordination with the other teams?
BC: As I told earlier, QAC is responsible for maintaining the internal relations among various verticals in an organized manner. Also, we are the points of contact to the administration and the faculty. So, we monitor the progress of every other team and ensure that they meet their target requirements within the deadline.
GT: What do you think are the traits that a person must possess in order to make him/her a perfect fit for the QAC team?
BC: First and foremost are patience and dealing with pressure, because coordinating with all other teams thrusts loads of responsibilities on this particular team. Losing your calm would not help because that might spoil the relationship among the team; passion and commitment to step up are some of the other characteristic traits that needs to be present in a person who is interested in QAC.
GT: How do you split work among yourselves, and how much are the juniors involved?
BC: We are three in number (Vinithra and Usha being the other two Student Directors, or K!ores), and we split work accordingly then and there, compartmentalising sets of teams to deal with for each one of us. Regarding the juniors, they are not involved in any major decision-making processes right now; the primary work of third year QAC members is to correspond with the organisers of the other teams so as to get to know our functioning.
GT: Can you throw light on one difficult or challenging moment/task, and one funniest moment during your stint at CTF so far?
BC: There were a lot of hardships we faced, particularly with the postponement of dates. There was inadequate time to market Kurukshetra efficiently, and our online events also delayed. Yet, we have overcome all those by planning well during crisis.
As far as funny moments go, our outings to CoolBiz and the lighter moments we had while working towards K! 17 go beyond words.