Project Quality Management
To answer the question first we have to define Quality. Quality is defined as “the sum of characteristics that involve its capability and satisfied needs and requirements. Another definition is, “Perceptual, conditional, and somewhat subjective attribute” Quality may be understood differently by different people.
Suitable quality is determined by product users, clients or customers, not by society in general. It is not related to cost, and adjectives or descriptors such as “high” and “poor” are not applicable. For example, a low priced product may be viewed as having high quality because it is disposable, where another may be viewed as having poor quality because it is not disposable
PROJECT QUALITY MANAGEMENT:
Project Quality management is the systematic process of managing and applying different quality tools and techniques to approach the final result that satisfies our needs. Quality management ensures that the product or service is consistent. It is as important that when a designer develops a new product/service, he needs to sell it and it is not possible to sell anything which has no realistic applications. Now we are living in the world of innovations not inventions, where the only product was made and available for use i.e., the customer has no options at that time. When the world moved from invention to innovation, quality was the basic need that must be fulfilled.
From our course guideline we have learnt that for the following reasons quality is crucial for any project.
- Quality is customer satisfaction.
- Quality is fitness of use of the specific product or service for which the project is being carried out.
- Conformance to requirements
According to Dr. Herold Kerznor; Quality management has its own importance for any kind of project. Further he says, today emphasis is being placed on strategic quality planning including such topics.
- Quality is defined by the customer i.e., customer needs should be fulfilled.
- Quality is an integral part of strategic planning these days.
- Quality has become a competitive weapon.
- Quality requires an organization wide commitment.
- Quality is directly linked with profitability on both the market and cost sides.
Strategic planning along with customer focusing is also known as modern quality management. In modern age customer is the basic focus of every type of organizations because customer is the ultimate financer.
Project quality management for any project is very important to accomplish the project by satisfying customer’s goals. Project Quality Management includes the processes for ensuring that the project satisfies the needs and requirements for which it was undertaken in the first place.
Project Quality Management addresses both the project output as well as the management of the project. It recognizes the importance of customer satisfaction, prevention over inspection, management responsibility and continuous improvement.
It has three main components: Quality Planning, Quality Assurance and Quality Control and a recently added bullet as quality improvement (search from Wikipedia). Quality management is focused not only on product and service quality, but also on the means to achieve it. Quality management, therefore, uses quality assurance and control processes as well as products to achieve more consistent quality. This is about the consistent efforts made for the betterment of developing product/services.
QUALITY MANAGEMENT PROCESSES:
Processes required ensuring that the project will satisfy the needs for which it was undertaken. Following are the three Quality Management processes.
- Quality Planning:
Quality planning (template )falls in the planning phase of the project life cycle. Quality planning is based on the identified needs in the initiation phase of the project and plan accordingly. It is stated that everything done well in the planning phase will be beneficial for the project manager. Because if everything is planned well then it is the indication of going smooth each and everything, otherwise he will not be in the position of mitigating the risks becoming issues. Every deviated thing will effect badly to our quality plan. So we have to plan it very carefully.
Quality planning involves the following questions to answered and planned accordingly.
- What is the vision and mission of my (the project) organization?
- What is company policy of my (the project) organization?
- What is the vision and mission of customer organization?
- What do we want to achieve?
- What are the stated and employed needs of the customer?
- How does the end user perceive?
- Who are the end users?
- How they will be using it?
- What are the conditions and environments for the use of the product?
- How often will I run my tests during the project lifecycle?
- What will be the guaranties and warranties?
- How will I prevent something going wrong or defects so that I don’t need to go in inspection mode?
- Determine the steps for quality assurance in execution phase and quality control later on.
- What are the standards developed?
- How to develop standards?
- How to follow quality standards?
- What are the processes of following quality standards?
- Who will be responsible for what?
These are some basic kind of questions that must be answered for quality planning in planning phase of the project. Not the quality planning in planning phase is enough but focus should be on continual improvement. Quality may require detailed risk analysis of identified risk recourse.
A detailed quality plan document is the net output of the quality planning which should include all of the above stated questions answered along with many extra related things and master plans to pursue the followed processes.
Keep in mind, “Quality should be planned- not inspected in.”
- Quality assurance:
Quality assurance is the way of preventing mistakes or defects in the manufactured product or in the created services and avoiding problems to the customer. Which ISO 9000 defines as “part of quality management focused on providing confidence that quality requirements will be fulfilled”? This defect prevention in quality assurance differs subtly from defect detection and rejection in quality control and has been referred to as a shift left as it focuses on quality earlier in the process.
Quality Assurance is applied to physical products in pre-production to verify what will be made meets specifications and requirements, and during manufacturing production runs by validating lot samples meet specified quality controls. Quality Assurance is also applied to software to verify that features and functionality meet business objectives, and that code is relatively bug free prior to shipping or releasing new software products and versions.
Quality assurance can be functional into two modes.
Internal Quality Assurance: Assurance is provided to the project management team and management of the performing organization.
Internal Quality Assurance: Assurance is provided to the customer and others not actively involved in the work of the project.
Quality Assurance refers to administrative and procedural activities implemented in a quality management system so that requirements and goals for a product, service or activity will be fulfilled. It is the systematic measurement, comparison with a standard, monitoring of processes and an associated feedback loop that confers error prevention. This can be contrasted with quality control which is focused on process output.
Two principles included in Quality Assurance are: “Fit for purpose” (the product should be suitable for the intended purpose); and “Right first time” (mistakes should be eliminated). Quality Assurance includes management of the quality of raw materials, assemblies, products and components, services related to production, and management production and inspection processes.
Quality assurance involves the following points.
- Problem definition
- Check list of tests
- Backup plans for records and checklists
- Sampling methods
- Measurement and data acquisition
- Assessment and response actions
- Technical and cost stand points
And also the following questions are to be answered in quality assurance
- What kind of testing need to be performed?
- What are the ideal results?
- What needs to be done and why?
- How many test cases are to be performed or performed?
- What is the data?
Prevention is the basic theme of this process of quality management. Keeping in mind, “Fixing is always harder than creating a new thing”. So planning is made to create the product defect free.
- Quality Control:
Alright, so all the planning is good, and it’s even better when it all works, but how does a project manager know that project is meeting the quality expectations? You could wait until the very end of the project and see what the customer says, but that’s risky as blow drying your hair in the shower. What you need, what you must have, is quality control (QC).
Quality control is inspection-driven. Quality Control requires the project manager and the project team to inspect the work that’s been done to determine if the work results are in alignment with the stated and employed objectives of the project scope and if they’re not? Fix the problem!
Quality Control is all about keeping mistakes out from the customer’s hands. You and the project team must work diligently to ensure that all of the work is accurate, on-scope, and meets the objectives that customer has defined. And do it quickly. But Quality Control takes time. It takes time to inspect the work, to redo the work, to check the work that has been redone. And time is rarely on the project manager’s side.
And who’s paying for all these inspections? Usually your project is. If all goes well (and when does all go well?) then there won’t be a need for additional funds and time. When projects are under tight time and cost constraints it becomes paramount for the project team to do the work right the first time so save extra time and funds spent on the rework.
It is always more cost effective and more time effective to do the project work right the first time. In quality control process following tasks is done.
- Selects what to control
- Set standards that provide the basis for decisions regarding possible correction actions
- Compare actual results to the quality standards
- Variances from standard are noted and fixed
- Defects fixed
- Acts to bring nonconforming processes and material back to the standards based on the information collected
- Monitor and calibrate measuring equipments
- Include detailed documentations for all process
In quality control we finally reach the sentence lesson, “quality is a journey, not destination”.
- QUALITY CONTROL PROCESS:
There plenty of tools a project manager can use to assist with quality control some of them are given below.
- Ishikawa diagrams:
These are also known as cause-and-effect diagrams and fishbone diagram. The point of these diagrams regardless of the nomenclature is to facilitate a conversation on why causes and contributing to a problem.
- Pareto Chart:
Pareto chart states its 80/20 principle and Pareto chart shows the categories of failure within a system. Then we use 80 percent of our effort to attack the largest identified problems. Because it states that 80 percent of the problems come due to the 20 percent of deficiencies in the work.
- Control charts:
A control chart really shows the normal distribution and allows us to track trends and adjust our mean when we reach goals and need to set new quality goals. The point of control chart is that we can track trends over time.
- Data Tables:
The simplest way of managing, handling and presenting the data of inspected work. In data tables simple tables are drawn containing point according to our needs and standards. This is the simplest and old way of representing quality control data and is easily manageable and understandable.
- Trend analysis:
Trend analysis is a graphical method of representing the deficiencies trends. It helps to understand and to fix the recurring problems.
As the name indicates, it is the graphical representation of the history. It shows that what the previous problem’s history is. Problems occurred when, how and how many. This helps to smooth our working process because a continual improvement is done against the histogram.
- Scatter diagram:
It is also a graphical representation. The results of two variables are plotted in a graph. It also shows trends and a distribution around central tendency. It highlights the expectations (out of tolerance conditions). It is the source of data for Pareto charts.