I've been assigned the PPQA process area at my company and I don't know much about it. How do I get smart FAST about the practices?
How to get smart fast? OK, first get some #8 AWG/3 wire and and a plasma welder .. . .
I would start by simply reading the PPQA PA making sure to read the informative material (in other words, the whole chapter). Remember that PPQA has multiple purposes - one focuses on "are we using the process?" and "is the process appropriate?" The other is, "what insight can we gain by understanding these two things?" Is the process useable? Is it helping people? How can we make it better?There are numerous books on the CMMI that could help you - one that I like because of its organic approach is Mike West's "Real Process Improvement with the CMMI."
Good luck! And don't hurt yourself!