Search

Project Quality Management: The Key Indicator of Project Success

The PMBOK® defines quality as the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.  A project is said to be meeting its quality expectations when all the project requirements agreed at the inception of the project are met, and thus the resulting product or service is usable for the relevant stakeholders.  Quality is Subjective  Quality for one individual will not be adequate for another. For example, the youth will consider a mobile phone as being of high quality based on its look and feel, brand name and its specification such as camera quality, memory capacity, screen resolution, ability to connect with other devices etc. and based on the support to run applications on the phone. However, for someone in the age group of 60 and above, the ability to take a phone call or send an SMS and whether this can be done without much hassle alone may define the quality of the mobile phone.  To understand the quality requirements tailored to projects, it is necessary to have an exhaustive Quality Management training such as the Certified Manager of Quality Training. Quality has many faces The definition of quality depends on the context and the business domain. For a service-oriented organization such as a bank, a restaurant, an airline etc. quality of service is identified through the level of customer satisfaction. For a product such as a mobile phone, a vehicle, a computer etc. quality means conformance to product specifications and its fitness for use.  In the context of healthcare sector, mission-critical military activities etc. quality is measured through precision and accuracy. Precision refers to the granularity of measurement and how fine the outcome can be measured. Accuracy simply put is the correctness of the output or being close to the desired value.   Here are the four things #CIOs need to know about quality https://t.co/gRfqoTEUB7 #Qualitymanagement pic.twitter.com/KHMz5iC6RN — CIOReview (@cioreview) January 7, 2018 Quality is everybody’s responsibility  Quality in project management is two-fold. Project Quality and Product Quality. Project quality is to ensure that the project is executed in line with the triple constraints of time, cost, and scope. If the project is within the defined tolerance levels of these three dimensions, then we can say that the project is of high quality. Projects are carried out to develop a solution; i.e. product, service or a result. If this solution meets its specification or meets the needs of the stakeholders then it is said that the solution is of high quality.   Meeting the quality expectations is not merely the responsibility of the project manager, but of everyone involved in the project. Achieving quality involves cost where it is the responsibility of everyone involved in the project to manage the same. Increased efforts and costs can increase the quality of output but a ceiling on this investment has to be fixed. Yes, it is the responsibility of the project manager to manage this ceiling value and to ensure optimal levels of quality within the project but he or she can only do this with the support of his team members. The optimal level of quality can be achieved when the incremental cost of achieving quality is equal to the incremental revenue from such quality improvements.    What digital transformation means for the future of #qualitymanagement: https://t.co/0gyCaHsKtb — Sparta Systems (@SpartaSystems) January 17, 2018 Cost of Quality In order to achieve this, the project will have to incur some cost and this is known as Cost of Quality. This includes all costs incurred over the life of the product by investment in preventing non-conformance to requirements, appraising the product or service for conformance to requirements and failing to meet requirements or in other words rework. Thus, the cost of quality is of two main types- Cost of Conformance – This is the money spent during the project to avoid failures through prevention or appraisal. Prevention costs are costs incurred to prevent errors by the way of training, documentation, maintenance of equipment, quality control etc. Appraisal costs are incurred to assess the quality by the way of testing (quality assurance), inspections, etc. Cost of Non-Conformance – This involves the money spent during and after the project because of failures. Two main types of such costs are cost of internal failure and cost of external failures. Internal failure costs involve rework, scrap costs that are incurred before the solution is released. External failure costs are more critical where these are incurred to rectify damages of products failing once released to the customer. Such costs include liabilities, warranty, loss of business, damage to image etc.   Quality Management is an important aspect of Project Management. PMI® thus has given a central position to the same when defining the knowledge areas in the PMBOK™. It is thus important for project managers and team members alike to understand the importance of quality and to better manage projects to achieve all expectations pertaining to quality.  
Rated 4.0/5 based on 2 customer reviews

Project Quality Management: The Key Indicator of Project Success

806
Project Quality Management: The Key Indicator of Project Success

The PMBOK® defines quality as the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.  A project is said to be meeting its quality expectations when all the project requirements agreed at the inception of the project are met, and thus the resulting product or service is usable for the relevant stakeholders. 

Quality is Subjective 

Quality for one individual will not be adequate for another. For example, the youth will consider a mobile phone as being of high quality based on its look and feel, brand name and its specification such as camera quality, memory capacity, screen resolution, ability to connect with other devices etc. and based on the support to run applications on the phone. However, for someone in the age group of 60 and above, the ability to take a phone call or send an SMS and whether this can be done without much hassle alone may define the quality of the mobile phone. 

To understand the quality requirements tailored to projects, it is necessary to have an exhaustive Quality Management training such as the Certified Manager of Quality Training.

Quality has many faces

The definition of quality depends on the context and the business domain. For a service-oriented organization such as a bank, a restaurant, an airline etc. quality of service is identified through the level of customer satisfaction. For a product such as a mobile phone, a vehicle, a computer etc. quality means conformance to product specifications and its fitness for use. 

In the context of healthcare sector, mission-critical military activities etc. quality is measured through precision and accuracy. Precision refers to the granularity of measurement and how fine the outcome can be measured. Accuracy simply put is the correctness of the output or being close to the desired value.
 


Quality is everybody’s responsibility 

Quality in project management is two-fold. Project Quality and Product Quality. Project quality is to ensure that the project is executed in line with the triple constraints of time, cost, and scope. If the project is within the defined tolerance levels of these three dimensions, then we can say that the project is of high quality. Projects are carried out to develop a solution; i.e. product, service or a result. If this solution meets its specification or meets the needs of the stakeholders then it is said that the solution is of high quality.
 


Meeting the quality expectations is not merely the responsibility of the project manager, but of everyone involved in the project. Achieving quality involves cost where it is the responsibility of everyone involved in the project to manage the same. Increased efforts and costs can increase the quality of output but a ceiling on this investment has to be fixed. Yes, it is the responsibility of the project manager to manage this ceiling value and to ensure optimal levels of quality within the project but he or she can only do this with the support of his team members. The optimal level of quality can be achieved when the incremental cost of achieving quality is equal to the incremental revenue from such quality improvements. 
 


Cost of Quality

In order to achieve this, the project will have to incur some cost and this is known as Cost of Quality. This includes all costs incurred over the life of the product by investment in preventing non-conformance to requirements, appraising the product or service for conformance to requirements and failing to meet requirements or in other words rework. Thus, the cost of quality is of two main types-

  1. Cost of Conformance – This is the money spent during the project to avoid failures through prevention or appraisal. Prevention costs are costs incurred to prevent errors by the way of training, documentation, maintenance of equipment, quality control etc. Appraisal costs are incurred to assess the quality by the way of testing (quality assurance), inspections, etc.
  2. Cost of Non-Conformance – This involves the money spent during and after the project because of failures. Two main types of such costs are cost of internal failure and cost of external failures. Internal failure costs involve rework, scrap costs that are incurred before the solution is released. External failure costs are more critical where these are incurred to rectify damages of products failing once released to the customer. Such costs include liabilities, warranty, loss of business, damage to image etc.
     

Quality Management is an important aspect of Project Management. PMI® thus has given a central position to the same when defining the knowledge areas in the PMBOK™. It is thus important for project managers and team members alike to understand the importance of quality and to better manage projects to achieve all expectations pertaining to quality.


 

Rumesh

Rumesh Wijetunge

Chief Innovation Officer - Zaizi Limited, Chief Operating Officer - LearntIn (Pvt) Ltd., Director /

Rumesh is an IT business leader with over 12 years of industry experience as a business analyst and project manager. He is currently the CIO of Zaizi Limited, a UK based data management company heading the operations in Sri Lanka, the COO of LearntIn, a global training institute based in Sri Lanka and is also a lecturer / trainer at multiple private universities on management, IT, business analysis and project management subjects. He is the current president of the IIBA Sri Lanka chapter and is one of the most qualified and sought after trainers in Sri Lanka. Refer his LinkedIn profile for more details and to see more articles he has written on linkedin

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Suggested Blogs

Lean Six Sigma Tools To Use With DMAIC

An organization requires good quality information to operate. It also needs the processes to meet these requirements. Organizations look for ways to improve the service they offer to their customers. It is their service that sets them apart from their competitors. The cost of quality (CoQ) is usually 25% of their sales, but this can easily be as high as 40 to 50%. What happens when quality is compromised? So, why is quality so important? Why do successful organizations put so much emphasis on quality? One way to answer this question is to consider the costs incurred by an organization when quality suffers. Here's a quick list of a few: Warranty costs - more goods returned for exchange Production rework - an overhead in the usage of production usage, Wastage - products components that cannot be reused in some manner Re-inspection - to assess the scope and scale of defectsWe must also look at intangible costs that may arise such as lost customer loyalty. You may also note an increase in sales cycle times and loss of revenue. Late deliveries and poor reviews from critical industries you serve may show up. Maintain a consistent quality standard One of the leading approaches in use today is Lean Six Sigma. Lean Six Sigma is a quality management process that uses a scientific method and a wide array of tools and techniques. Some Lean Six Sigma tools are more common than others. They all help to increase the quality of a product or service delivered. Lean Six Sigma is a five-phase process known as DMAIC — Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve and Control. The DMAIC phases and tools are for improving an existing process. Another process, DMADV, creates a new process, with the focus on customers throughout. In this article, our focus is on the DMAIC process. Define: What outcome does our customer expect from this process? Measure: What is the frequency of the defects in the highlighted process? Analyze: Why, When and Where do defects occur in the process? Improve: How best to fix this process for efficiency and with fewer defects? Control: Once improved, how can we keep the improvements in place? Phase # 1: DefineThe desired output of this phase is to establish a clear list of things that will be improved upon. You will determine how to measure improvement. Create a high-level process map as well as a list of what is important to customers (called Critical to Quality).  “Meaningful Impact BUT Manageable in Scope” is the theme while choosing a project. Select the least elaborate and complex process that can make the most impact on the clients. Remember that you are striving for measurable improvement. Do a high-level Value Added/Non-Value Added analysis. Look for the potential to reduce process time or defects.And now, here's a list of useful tools you might use in the Define Phase includes: Failure Modes and Effects Analysis: This tool identifies all the ways a process might fail. It then determines the impact(s) of each failure on other activities Suppliers/Inputs/Process/Outputs/Customers diagram: This tool will lay out the five key elements of any given process. It is critical to show who performs what tasks on what “materials” in the process Value Stream Analysis: A VSA compiles the activities necessary to produce and deliver a product or service. It will separate activities that contribute to value from activities that create waste. It identifies potential opportunities for improvement. To know more about Value Streams, take a look at this excellent article. High-Level Process Map: This tool will depict the process you focus on. It denotes all the steps, the sub-processes, activities, and results in the process. It shows the workflows and results and allows for a complete understanding of the process end-to-end. Voice of the Customer: This is a technique for gathering systematic information on the customer's "needs and wants". It employs surveys and interviews for purposes of validation. It helps to ensure that you include customer needs and requirements in any activity. It provides a project team with a “to be” idea based upon the needs of clients. Clients should be selected from a complete range of customers. Note that this tool requires a data cleaning method for analyzing customer feedback. Lean Six Sigma Project can often move back and forth between the Measure and Analyze phase. That is acceptable. This may be because the team will test a hypothesis in an iterative way. In the Measure Phase, use input gathered in VOC interviews to establish Performance Standards. Performance Standards translate the customer needs into quantified requirements for a process. Phase # 2: MeasureThis stage is vital in setting up an optimized process map. I employ a 5-step approach for this phase:- Develop a sampling strategy. Confirm the measurement system. Establish a baseline by collecting data on defects and possible causes. Are there any discernible patterns in the data? Do a close analysis to be certain. Determine process capability and create a more detailed process map.Now, let us take a look at some tools to use in this phase: Detailed Map of the Current Process and a Situation Assessment. This helps to define the metrics we will gather and measure. For each stage of the process, the map delineates the activities conducted. It also shows the intended output, result or effect of the steps. Data Collection Plan and Data Table –A data collection plan provides a written strategy for collecting data you will use. The plan creates a clear strategy to collect reliable data. This plan gives all team members a reference for clear communication. It outlines the purpose and methods for data collection and links it to project goals. You will use this step to analyze the current measurement system (if any). This will help to determine its accuracy. To complement your Data Table, consider a Trend Chart. Trend Charts, also run charts, can show trends in data over a period of time. Many processes can vary due to different locations or different shifts. Single point measurements can be misleading. Trend Charts can show a "dip" or "spike" you may need to study. When you display process data over time, you understand the real performance versus a target. Process Capability is a tool I like to use in my analysis of an existing process. Process Capability is a test to measure if a process will meet customer requirements. Will it meet or exceed what customers expect from the process? Using throughput is one way to determine existing capability. If you are gathering large amounts of data, a histogram can display it in a useful visual summary. Another useful chart is the Pareto Chart. This chart can display an uneven distribution of defects. Think of the 80-20 rule. "20% of the clients cause 80% of the problems". Many defects can follow a similar type of pattern. A few steps in a process can account for a large percentage of defects. This will show how frequently a defect occurs. It helps rank steps and allows you to go after "easy pickings". Phase # 3: Analyze The third phase in Lean Six Sigma DMAIC is the Analyze phase. The tools for the Analyze phase make sense of the data collected during the Measure phase. The team uses the data to confirm a source of waste such as delays or quality defects. One challenge to be aware of is sticking to the data. The experiences of members can point in a specific direction for root causes. The aim of this phase is to note any patterns for the Improve phase. Now let us take a look at the tools. Fish-bone or Cause and Effect Diagram. This provides a visual display of all possible causes of a specific problem. Use it in the context of a group. It can expand discussion for all possible causes, to cover all the bases. It allows a team to do a better job of identifying correct causes, rather than what may appear to be “most obvious”. A 5-Why analysis method couples well with a Cause and Effect Diagram. You use it to move past symptoms you detect and understand the true root cause of waste. The 5-Why analysis is more than an iterative process or a simple question asking activity. The purpose is to get the right people discussing any possible root causes of a given defect in a process. Many times teams will stop once a reason for a defect appears to them. The problem's root cause can still hide below this initial layer. I like to use a Cost of Poor Quality Calculation on Marketing and Sales LSS projects. Cost of Poor Quality Calculation will quantify money lost due to waste. It is important because it can provide insight into potential value when you make changes. Phase # 4: Improve This is the phase where improvement strategies are put into place. You characterize and examine the variables you've identified. In developing a solution, you design and pilot this solution to test it. You test this solution as a hypothesis and confirm if it works before a large scale roll-out. The roll-out includes training, support, technology changes, and the process/documentation changes. The tools in the Improvement phase are quite varied. You match the tool to the problem you face. Depending on the project you will look at a tool based on many factors. These factors might be complexity, data availability or business impact. Sometimes, an acceptable solution can come from a tool in an earlier phase. Other times you need a more complex tool. An entire article can be a dedication to going through the list. Here are some common tools for this phase. Phase # 5: Control The Control Phase is the last phase of DMAIC that is most vital. Unless you add documentation to a process it will degrade over time and lose any gains from the project. The outcome you look for is to make sure the new process stays in control after you implement the new solution. I detail several of these tools below in a previous article about business requirements documents. Below is a list of some plans that need to be incorporated as part of the Control Phase. Control plan Monitoring plan Response plan Training plan When you complete a DMAIC project, you will want to assess whether the process improvement met the requirements of the customer. You will understand whether the solution resulted in any benefits that are unexpected or in addition to goals set out in the beginning. You will be equipped to leverage the solution to other projects in your operation with clarity on whether there’s buy-in to keep the intended change or solution in place.
Rated 4.5/5 based on 45 customer reviews
15690
Lean Six Sigma Tools To Use With DMAIC

An organization requires good quality information ... Read More

What is the Capability Maturity Model? (CMM)

Capability Maturity Model (CMM) broadly refers to a process improvement approach that is based on a process model. CMM also refers specifically to the first such model, developed by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) in the mid-1980s, as well as the family of process models that followed. A process model is a structured collection of practices that describe the characteristics of effective processes; the practices included are those proven by experience to be effective. CMM can be used to assess an organization against a scale of five process maturity levels. Each level ranks the organization according to its standardization of processes in the subject area being assessed. The subject areas can be as diverse as software engineering, systems engineering, project management, risk management, system acquisition, information technology (IT) services and personnel management. CMM was developed by the SEI at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. It has been used extensively for avionics software and government projects, in North America, Europe, Asia, Australia, South America, and Africa.Currently, some government departments require software development contract organization to achieve and operate at a level 3 standard. History The Capability Maturity Model was initially funded by military research. The United States Air Force funded a study at the Carnegie-Mellon Software Engineering Institute to create a model (abstract) for the military to use as an objective evaluation of software subcontractors. The result was the Capability Maturity Model, published as Managing the Software Process in 1989. The CMM is no longer supported by the SEI and has been superseded by the more comprehensive Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI). Maturity Model The Capability Maturity Model (CMM) is a way to develop and refine an organization’s processes. The first CMM was for the purpose of developing and refining software development processes. A maturity model is a structured collection of elements that describe characteristics of effective processes. A maturity model provides: a place to start the benefit of a community’s prior experiences a common language and a shared vision a framework for prioritizing actions a way to define what improvement means for your organization A maturity model can be used as a benchmark for assessing different organizations for equivalent comparison. It describes the maturity of the company based upon the project the company is dealing with and the clients. Context In the 1970s, technological improvements made computers more widespread, flexible, and inexpensive. Organizations began to adopt more and more computerized information systems and the field of software development grew significantly. This led to an increased demand for developers—and managers—which was satisfied with less experienced professionals. Unfortunately, the influx of growth caused growing pains; project failure became more commonplace not only because the field of computer science was still in its infancy, but also because projects became more ambitious in scale and complexity. In response, individuals such as Edward Yourdon, Larry Constantine, Gerald Weinberg, Tom DeMarco, and David Parnas published articles and books with research results in an attempt to professionalize the software development process. Watts Humphrey’s Capability Maturity Model (CMM) was described in the book Managing the Software Process (1989). The CMM as conceived by Watts Humphrey was based on the earlier work of Phil Crosby. Active development of the model by the SEI began in 1986. The CMM was originally intended as a tool to evaluate the ability of government contractors to perform a contracted software project. Though it comes from the area of software development, it can be, has been, and continues to be widely applied as a general model of the maturity of processes in IS/IT (and other) organizations. The model identifies five levels of process maturity for an organisation. Within each of these maturity levels are KPAs (Key Process Areas) which characterise that level, and for each KPA there are five definitions identified: 1. Goals 2. Commitment 3. Ability 4. Measurement 5. Verification
Rated 4.0/5 based on 20 customer reviews
What is the Capability Maturity Model? (CMM)

Capability Maturity Model (CMM) broadly refers to ... Read More

How does Six Sigma give you the winning edge?

What improvements will you make to your manufacturing processes to get ahead of your competitors and set the stage for economic advantage? Will you make strategic investments for research and development or is it customer satisfaction and quality that you are after? While you would want to implement all these processes, your ultimate goal would be to realize your potential and meet organizational goals. But with the economy in a lurch, organizations have to deal with rising costs and erratic customer requirements to provide the best possible solutions. This can be achieved by bringing about process improvements that will help limit resources so that there is no wastage. The idea of implementing a standard for process improvements is not new. Motorola was a pioneer, developing the Six Sigma set of standards way back in the 80’s. It was developed as an alternative to traditional quality measurement standards, which though effective, were not fool proof enough.  But with Six Sigma, Motorola saw great profit improvements, and many organizations replicated its success. Based on the DMAIC process, it involves defining the system, measuring the key aspects of the system, analysing the data involved, improving, and controlling processes. These processes are brought about by individuals, who in Six Sigma parlance are designated as Champions, Black Belts, Green Belts, and Yellow Belts. They use statistical quality control to evaluate the process capability and make suggestions for improvements. The idea behind using specially designated individuals, is to “professionalize” processes and achieve the highest possible quality in implementation. While it does have its detractors who argue about the negative effects of overreliance on statistical tools and lack of documentation, the fact is that it has survived and has been successfully implemented in large-scale organizations across sectors. That’s because, Six Sigma has evolved over time and morphed from being just a standard to a way of doing business. As Geoff Tennant mentions in his book, “Six Sigma is a vision; a philosophy; a symbol; a metric; a goal”, and perhaps that’s what contributes to its success.
Rated 4.0/5 based on 0 customer reviews
How does Six Sigma give you the winning edge?

What improvements will you make to your manufactur... Read More

Useful links