Quality Assurance ensures processes and software programs are working as designed. The role of a Clerk and Parliamentarian is to ensure that the proper steps and processes are followed to achieve the proper outcome. Clerks and Parliamentarians spend their careers developing the skills to navigate these processes, manage documents, and understand the roles and workflows involved in the legislative process.
The most innocuous workflow component can have significant downstream consequences if software isn’t designed to account for it correctly.
Applying these skills to Quality Assurance in the assessment and development of legislative software solutions comes as second nature to a former Parliamentarian. The same command of legislative minutiae used to manage the business of a chamber is well-applied to discussions about how software should work to benefit a legislature and the people who make it work.
I’ve often compared the legislative experience to learning a foreign language, where precise translation and accounting for nuance can mean the difference between a warm handshake or a slap in the face. Processes in a legislature have specific terms and different names. Knowing the language of the legislative process is crucial to understanding the steps taken and the steps that have to be taken from bill request to smooth final passage.
Articulating these specifics—going from committee to code—is a challenge for all vendors in the legislative management space, and a key to designing software solutions built to match the unique way each legislature works. The most innocuous workflow component can have significant downstream consequences if software isn’t designed to account for it correctly.
Knowing the language of the legislative process is crucial to understanding the steps taken and the steps that have to be taken from bill request to smooth final passage.
As your legislature considers investment aimed at reducing reliance on paper processes, decreasing the time it takes from one step to another, or simply increasing public access, the best approach is consistent: seek to deploy digital solutions that mimic existing processes. The goal should always be to design software that mimics existing processes, not to change your processes to fit within the parameters of a pre-built solution.
Tallan understands how to apply the principles of Quality Assurance to the legislative process and has produced positive results for its legislative customers.
Bill MaGill is the former Clerk of the Vermont House of Representatives with 18 years of experience in the Clerk’s office, where he played an important role in chamber administration, legislative policy and support, office management, and digital communications. Contact Bill at firstname.lastname@example.org
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