Sadness

Tool Navigation PowerPoint

Using a Phase II Tool

The main project I’ve worked on for the last three years is called Product Genealogy Phase II. In this project, we’re going through every page of every product by the program and verifying the image records. The work is done in an access tool and once a product is complete it must pass our internal Quality Assurance (QA) checks. We check that the image found on the page matches the record in the tool.

I started on this project as the first QA person and over the years the QA team has expanded to seven people, all of whom I’ve trained. When I started this project there was little to no documentation of the process, I was given a verbal introduction and simply asked questions as new issues arose. Over time as I QA’d more and more and brought people onto the team the need for written instruction and formal training became apparent. A project of this scale requires lots of time and much of it is hard to explain before it’s happened because there’s always a new issue we didn’t predict.

The bulk of our project work is completed in Microsoft Access databases. Most people, myself included, start the project with little to no knowledge of how to operate in the databases or find the desired information. Over time I have learned how to navigate in databases, create custom queries, import & export data with Excel, and build tables and relationships.

As part of my self-initiated project to document as many of the Phase II complexities as possible, I made a PowerPoint highlighting basic tips and tricks for using the tools in QA.

Main Page:

The main Genealogy Phase II Forum displays all the base records in the tool. The page is divided into sections which I then highlighted the critical information found in each with a brief description.

Secondary Page:

The second forum shows all the records derived from the bases. Again I highlighted the critical boxes, called out the most common error found from this page, and specifically pointed out that there are three different places the folio (page number) may be located.

Access Tips & Tricks:

In addition to displaying the layout and location of our information, the PowerPoint includes tricks for using access such as:

  • Right-clicking in any field gives you the option to set a customizable filter. You can do a contains or equals to search to find related records or view only the records for one set of pages at a time. 
  • If you apply too many or loose track of which fields are filtered, the orange Filtered button in the bottom right corner of the screen can be clicked and it will remove them all, restoring the page to its default view. Beside this button, you can see how many records fit the criteria and navigate through them using the arrows.
  • From inside a cell using CTRL + F will active a pop-up window to jump to a record.
  • Unlike other Microsoft programs, access automatically saves changes to the data once you’ve clicked out of the cell, and there is no undo feature. Through the nature of our QA, there should be no changes made to the tool as we are only viewing the information. If by accident something is changed or altered simply redownload a copy of the tool from SharePoint.
Sadness

The Cheat Sheet

training documentation

The main project I’ve worked on for the last three years is called Product Genealogy Phase II. In this project, we’re going through every page of every product by the program and verifying the image records. The work is done in an access tool and once a product is complete it must pass our internal Quality Assurance (QA) checks. We check that the image found on the page matches the record in the tool.

I started on this project as the first QA person and over the years the QA team has expanded to seven people, all of whom I’ve trained. When I started this project there was little to no documentation of the process, I was given a verbal introduction and simply asked questions as new issues arose. Over time as I QA’d more and more and brought people onto the team the need for written instruction and formal training became apparent. A project of this scale requires lots of time and much of it is hard to explain before it’s happened because there’s always a new issue we didn’t predict.

How I improved the project:

To combat this sense of unknown, in addition to the lengthy, fully detailed process instructions for each component of the project I also wrote a cheat sheet to aid new team members with the process, key points, and general guidelines. The two-page document is easy to read, small enough to either print out and keep beside your computer or simply leave up on the second screen for reference as you work. In the cheat sheet, there are four main sections each with several bulleted points beneath for elaboration.

I broke down the different types of image records that could be found and listed the required components of each (example, something taken in-house should not have a third party credit or the latter).

I listed the four primary things the QA team should be checking for:

  1. The records in the tool are accurate representations of what’s found on the page.
  2. The records are assigned to the proper folio, and before a folio is marked as incorrect all three folio fields are checked.
  3. There is exactly one record for every image, no more, no less.
  4. Consistency. If a seemingly simple graphic has a record for one page, it should have a record for all pages it’s found on.

I explained each of the columns in our QA report and when they are applicable to fill in as well as broke down the process of checking the products. We examine every 3-5 pages unless there are a high number of errors. If the passing percentage falls below 60% halt QA and return the product for rework. The QA report I designed automatically calculates the passing percentage based on the number of passes vs. fails in the report.

I included four practical tips for viewing information in the access tools as most people are not immediately familiar with the sometimes complex functions and formats. As access is typically the steepest learning curve for new team members I created a PowerPoint further describing how to navigate in the tools.

  1. The Genealogy Phase II tab shows information from all the base records. The top box lists all the product details and the Spec AutoID
  2. When you’re QA’ing the Spec Details box will show the description, the page number, and the spec type. If the AssesUsed box is not checked the image should not be on the page, sometimes you’ll see duplicate specs but only one of them will have the AssestUsed box checked – that’s ok.
  3. The Asset Details box here you’ll see the Source File number, Rights Type and credit.
  4. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see four tabs, the Base Spec Verification tab will show the status of the spec. Descriptions of the different status’s are written out in the box to the right.

And finally, in the cheat sheet, I collected links to each of our internal SharePoint sites that are either used for tracking purposes, housing digital products, the location of the new tools, and the training site where all the lengthy process instructions are available. I listed the links and explained what can be found at each of them so new members can easily find further instruction, new assignments, and fresh copies of the tool as needed.