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Automotive SPICE Online Assessment – Success factors for quality results

Automotive SPICE Online Assessments - Success factors for quality results

1.       Introduction

In 2020, the Automotive SPICE assessment landscape was fundamentally changed by COVID19. Contact restrictions made traditional assessments impossible in many cases. A kickoff meeting in a conference room often included up to 20 people with assessors and everyone involved in the project.

Sponsors of ASPICE assessments want an objective result that shows the performance of the process structure or the product-related risks. Now this must also be guaranteed in online assessments – a challenge. In this blog, the Knüvener Mackert team reports on their experiences in ten months of COVID19.

2.       Success factors in online assessment

As in the regular assessment, the local coordinator helps to implement the assessment agenda. The only difference is that, in contrast to the face-to-face assessment, the interviewees and process owners present their content online via the Internet.

This means that there is no small talk during the breaks between the interviews and thus no lightening of the atmosphere. It is difficult to release the tension. Nevertheless, an online assessment should also deliver a high-quality result in the evaluation of strengths and potential. A good interview climate plays a decisive role in this. To ensure that this is also good and effective online, the following measures have proven effective at Knüvener Mackert:

2.1.      Working environment

Screen

A good working environment is essential for both assessors and process owners. At Knüvener Mackert, a second screen or second PC has proven to be irreplaceable. Communication takes place on one screen. On the other device, documentation, evaluation or presentation takes place. In this way, those involved can see each other via video and still work on the computer.

Assessment Cloud

Online collaboration also means that assessors can share their results in a secure way. Knüvener Mackert has had very good experience with the assessment tool TRACE. The tool enables simultaneous collaboration between assessors. Comments, strengths and weaknesses recorded by one assessor are immediately visible on the screen of all assessors. In the consolidation phase, assessments can thus be discussed and efficiently documented on a single database.

Equipment

You wouldn’t believe how big the differences can be with a headset. It is crucial that the voice is recorded without interference and that background noise is suppressed at the same time.

The webcam of the conversation partners should be adjusted to the lighting conditions. This factor plays a special role in non-verbal communication. A high-resolution monitor of a sufficient size is also very useful when viewing documents. Often it is these little things, like oil in the gearbox, that make for smooth communication. Don’t forgo video broadcasting with all parties involved. It decisively improves the atmosphere of the conversation, and at the same time ensure high quality of technical equipment.

Accessibility of tools

Different tools are used in the various Automotive SPICE processes. Only what can be presented convincingly is evaluated in the assessment. It is recommended to test the working environment thoroughly before the assessment, so that with the additional bandwidth for the online conference, the presentation in the interview can proceed quickly.

In the case of online assessments, interview partners themselves can also be in the home office. A well-functioning VPN to the company network or access to the tools in the cloud are a prerequisite here.

2.2.      Good conferencing software

Due to the new circumstances through Covid19 many projects are now worked on distributed in the home office. A wide variety of tools are used for communication. Knüvener Mackert mainly uses ZOOM and MS Teams. The advantage of the latter is that Office365 is already in use at many companies and no new infrastructure needs to be set up.

Another important point is that no time is lost when participants or even assessors do not know in which online room they are meeting. This can be easily organized in teams and channels. For consolidation, the assessor team can withdraw to their “private” channel, while the main channel is available for everyone in the assessment.

Internet access bandwidth can sometimes throw a wrench in the works. This is where Zoom can come up trumps. Even in countries with low bandwidth and high latency, even video and screen sharing works comfortably.

2.3.      Advantages of online assessments

One advantage of online assessments is the saving of travel costs and especially travel time. This advantage compensates for the increased effort involved in preparing online assessments. Online assessments can also be conducted in different time zones with good coordination. Even project teams at different locations can easily come together in the assessment. The use of high-quality equipment (e.g. large high-resolution monitor) brings advantages in the viewing of the documents shown compared to an on-site assessment. Here, content is sometimes difficult to read due to the greater distance to the projection surface.

3.       Conclusion

2020 and 2021 will go down in history, not only because of COVID19 but also as the years of the communications revolution. Participants from a wide variety of markets are rapidly acquiring competencies in online communication in order to stay ahead. For automotive SPICE assessments, this means maximum performance, as assessments have always been subject to a tight schedule, which now has to be implemented online.

How do you communicate openly and empathically despite tunnel vision? How can technical challenges be mastered in such a way that a smooth process is guaranteed? How can a tight agenda with a wide variety of interview partners and withdrawn consolidations be organized well?

At Knüvener Mackert, we have made a virtue out of necessity, so that you do not have any additional delays in your projects and a fair, meaningful assessment result emerges. The assessment sponsors and the project participants are very satisfied, because they get the same quality in the assessment report, no matter if online or on-site.

 

Further reading Introduction to Automotive SPICE assessments