Only permanent learning processes safeguard
We believe that quality plays a key role in sustainable development. Safeguarding quality is the responsibility of our decentralised quality management system. Quality is rooted in experience. For this to happen, experience must be shared within a learning organisation and the right conclusions must be drawn. Digital transformation, in particular, presupposes constant learning. We have the right management tool to do so: Capacity WORKS. Sound methodology is one side of the coin. Respect for staff members is the other.
OUR UNDERSTANDING OF QUALITY
Quality plays a pivotal role in ensuring the sustainability of our work. Our understanding of quality, based on international standards and the Capacity WORKS management model, safeguards the quality of the services we provide. Monitoring and evaluation ensure effectiveness.
For us, quality means achieving positive results. Our understanding of quality is based on the following factors:
- Sustainability-based values
- Economical use of resources
- Efficient steering
- Compliance with rules and regulations.
Behind every one of these factors are procedures, instruments and processes that are geared and adapted to specific needs. The Quality House model is GIZ’s internal frame of reference for our understanding of quality.
DECENTRALISED QUALITY MANAGEMENT
In our projects, we define quality as the successful achievement of intended results. Our quality management and the underlying procedures and requirements are implemented on a decentralised basis and responsibility for them lies with the relevant organisational units. The main actors are the officers responsible for commissions and staff members in Germany and the field. Through their daily work, they all contribute to the quality of GIZ’s services. Managers within the company have a special responsibility for quality. Quality management falls within their remit.
We are constantly striving to improve our quality with the help of regular surveys of staff, external stakeholders and commissioning parties. Corporate strategy evaluations are also carried out on relevant topics, such as gender, cofinancing or explicitly on quality management in projects.
EXTERNAL QUALITY CONTROLS
GIZ undergoes an annual external quality control audit by BMZ. BMZ randomly selects 50 GIZ projects and then uses specific audit criteria to conduct quality checks. Special emphasis is placed on compliance with BMZ regulations during planning and implementation. The audit criteria are:
- Compliance with development policy requirements
- Objectives system
- Offers and reporting
- Plausibility of instrument use
- Value for money.
External quality control is important, as it allows auditors from outside the company to evaluate our projects from a different vantage point. The sixth external quality control audit took place in 2018. The results are then communicated between GIZ and BMZ. This ensures transparency and a joint understanding of our cooperation. In some thematic areas, the level of quality is already very high, while others still demonstrate scope for improvement. We need to work on these areas and agree on corresponding measures.
LEARNING AND INNOVATION
We want to be successful, effective and cost-effective in the long term, so we constantly re-examine our actions and decisions. This enables us to learn from our own experiences – including the less successful ones. We have made this process an integral part of the ‘learning and innovation’ success factor in Capacity WORKS, the tool we use to manage and implement our commissions.
In view of digital change and the increasing complexity of the working world, we launched the internal cooperation and leadership process in late 2017, which also contributes to organisational learning at GIZ. Experiment and innovate is one of the core principles of this process. This means having the courage to try and fail, face up to failures openly and learn as early as possible in processes so that there is still time to change course.
GIZ uses agile methods like Scrum and rapid prototyping in selected projects, thus promoting organisational learning. The path to be taken is broken down into so many small steps that there is enough time for reflection and thus for learning. In sprint retrospectives and sprint reviews, project team members evaluate the results achieved to date and reflect on cooperation within the team in order to work together more efficiently and expediently in future. These methods are highly structured and are reflected upon and refined time and again. This is second-level learning. After all, even learning needs to be learned.
However, methods are not everything. It is at least just as important for staff to have an open, respectful and constructive attitude. A culture is needed that views mistakes not as failures but as a consequence of courageous decisions and an opportunity for further development. In a world of growing complexity and rapid acceleration, it is sometimes inevitable that hitherto successful approaches simply stop working. It is important to acknowledge this and to change course swiftly.
In an expert organisation like GIZ, this calls for changes in the corporate culture. While experts and expert knowledge were key to successful projects in the past, the focus today is more on knowledge sharing. Our future corporate culture will be shaped even more by the natural sharing of knowledge, transparent work and mutual support in overcoming barriers. By supporting our staff and creating safe spaces where information can be shared, we want to help them rediscover the joy of experimenting and learning.
Quality is measured both in terms of how good a project or service is and in terms of client satisfaction. Our quality management system has the task of designing the company’s internal guidelines, regulations, procedures and management processes in a way that enables GIZ to deliver top-quality services.