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Project Quality

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What is Project Quality Management? Project quality management is concerned with the management of the project and the product of the project. The project Quality Management Processes include:

  • Quality Planning
  • Perform Quality Assurance
  • Perform Quality Control

PMI’s approach to quality management is intended to be compatible with that of the International Standardization Organization (ISO). This generalized approach should be compatible with proprietary approaches to quality management such as those recommended by Deming, Juran, Crosby and others. Non-proprietary approaches should be compliment Total Quality Management (TQM), Six Sigma, Failure Mode and Effect Analysis, etc. 

Quality Management vs. Project Management

Quality management and project management have similar characteristics:

  • Customer satisfaction - The project must satisfy the customer requirements by delivering what it promised in order to satisfy the needs of the customer. The PMBOK puts it as “conformance to requirements” and “fitness for use.”
  • Prevention - Quality is planned into a project, not inspected in. It is always more cost-effective to prevent mistakes than to correct them.
  • Management responsibility - The project team must work towards the quality goal, but management must provide the needed resources to deliver on the quality promises.
  • Plan-do-check-act - Deming, arguably the world’s leader in quality management theory thanks to his management methods implemented in Japan after World War II, set the bar with his “plan-do-check-act” approach to quality management. This approach is similar to the project management processes every project passes through.
  • Kaizen technology - Kaizen is a quality management philosophy of applying continuous small improvements to reduce costs and ensure consistency or project performance.
  • Marginal analysis - Marginal analysis studies the cost of the incremental improvements to a process or product and compares it against the increase in revenue made from the improvements. For example, the price of the added feature may cost the company $7.50 per unit, but the amount of gained sales per year because of the improvement will meet or exceed the cost of the improvement.

The PMI Perspective on Quality

Customer specifications determine what the expected level of quality is. The exam questions follow ISO 9000 and ISO 10000 quality standards and guidelines. Project quality management also is concerned with the management of the project and the product of the project. Project managers must provide quality objectives for project management activities.

Quality concerns for the PM could be things such as:

  • Overworking the project team in order to complete the project. This may result in unacceptable work, decline in team morale, and the slow, steady destruction of the project team’s willingness to work.
  • Hurrying to complete the project work by speeding through quality inspections. This can result in unacceptable deliverables.

Note: The Quality Management System standards created by ISO are meant to certify the processes and the system of an organization and not the product or service itself. ISO 9000 standards do not certify the quality of the product or service.

Important Factors in Quality Management

  • Customer Satisfaction
  • Prevention before Inspection
  • Management Responsibility – success requires effort from every member of the team. Management must provide the resources
  • Continuous Improvement – Plan-Do-Act is the basis for quality Improvement. (As defined by Shewhart and modified by Deming, in the ASQ Handbook, pages 13–14, American Society for Quality, 1999).

Why Quality is Important

  • Greater chance of Acceptance the first time
  • Less Re-Work
  • Less costly in the long run
  • Quality checks produce verifiable documentation that can be used as historical information

Plan quality before work is performed

  • Quality planning can confirm the pre-existence of quality-or the need for quality improvements.
  • Quality is planned into a project, not inspected in.
  • Quality control uses inspections to prove the quality standards of the projects deliverable.

Note: Quality is planned into a project, not inspected in. Inspection is a part of project quality management but inspection is not generally considered the best path to improved quality.

Who is affected by Quality?

  • The customer – If the quality of either the product or a process is poor, it cost the customer time.
  • The product - When quality is not built in, the product of the project will suffer.
  • The project processes – When quality does not exist, the execution process is not complete and will need to be re-planned
  • The project team – If quality is not well planned for and defined in the scope, the project team will perform much re-work.

Note: It’s important to know that Quality and grade are not the same. Quality is the sum of the characteristics of a product that allow it to meet the demands or expectations of the project. 

Grade, according to the PMBOK, “is a category or rank given to entities having the same functional use but different technical characteristics.” For example, there are different grades of paint, different grades of metal, and even different grades of travel.

Note: Know that low quality is always a problem, but low grade may not be. Depending on the requirements of the customer, low grade may be completely acceptable, but low quality never is.

The quality management plan spans all areas of project quality-not just the product the project is creating. The customer experience of the project, as led by the project manager, should be of quality as well. The relation between the project deliverables and the project management quality is directly related. The project manager is responsible for the overall quality management of the project and must set quality expectations based on the requirements of the customers and stakeholders. The project manager must integrate the quality control of the project with the quality assurance program of the performing organization. Quality management ensures the project is completed with no deviations from the requirements.
There are several quality management philosophies:

  • Total Quality Management (TQM) - The organization strives for constant improvement for products and business practices.
  • Kaizen - The organization applies small changes to products and processes to improve consistency, reduce costs, and provide overall quality improvements.
  • Marginal analysis - The cost of the quality is not greater than the increased sales because of the level of quality implemented. Ideally, the revenue generated because of the quality improvements far exceeds the cost of the quality.


Read 7995 times Last modified on Thursday, 10 December 2009 22:00

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