Checklists

I am currently going through the mindbogglingly dull process of going through the QA process I apply to everything I, or anyone on my team, develops in SSIS. There’s an established approach to this – I have drawn up a checklist of common things that must be in place for each type of package to run effectively. Some of the items checked are set by default in the templates, but I insist on checking them anyway, because “things happen” in development. Most of the checks are simple review points to make sure certain portions of the template (e.g. variables) have been properly updated. A few of them are there so another developer can quickly review whats been done and apply a common sense appraisal of the work.

The process of going through the QA checklist takes maybe about 5 minutes per package at most. However that process consistently reveals two important facts:

  1. Other people don’t do their work to the standards I set
  2. I don’t do my work to the standards I set

Just because you’re a professional who has been doing a job for years doesn’t mean you won’t forget things. Someone will distract you with a question and you lose track of your progress – and a mistake is made. This great article on a checklist for doctors working in Intensive Care units really emphasises the value of not just having a process, but having a simple means of enforcing it. Like a checklist to make sure you did everything you should have done :)

3 thoughts on “Checklists

  1. QA Checklists are something we are trying to implement here. Any suggestions for a source to get us started?

  2. Unfortunately all the sources I have are proprietary so can’t be shared but i’d consider the following points when drawing up your lists:

    1) Adherence to design standards (such as naming conventions)
    2) Common development errors (e.g. settings such as BufferTempStoragePath not set)
    3) Ease of carrying out check – keep it a quick test
    4) Don’t replicate unit testing – QA is more about best practice

    There’s more to consider but the above points should get you started.

    Cheers, James

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