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Managing Project Quality

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Make breakthroughs in project quality by combining project management with quality management - this books shows you how. Guiding you from project initiation through closure, the book provides a detailed stage-specific flowchart of activities correlated with appropriate tools to give you new power to meet customer expectations and institutionalize project quality.

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CHAPTER 1: Introduction to Project Quality Management

ePub

Project quality management is the combination of two fields: quality management and project management. Many factors—such as external global competitiveness, dynamic environmental changes, increased task complexity, and internal productivity improvement—have driven the parallel and separate evolution of quality management and project management. Superior quality and project management optimize the performance excellence of organizations, but their combined leverage is often underutilized. Quality processes can be used to improve project performance. Leaders who master project quality management will have greater success both on individual projects and on a portfolio of projects for their organizations.

An introduction to project quality management requires a basic understanding of: (1) the histories of the quality management and project management fields; (2) the conceptual foundations of project quality management; and (3) the need for improvement in project quality management.

 

CHAPTER 2: Project Quality Initiation

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A project normally begins with a potential project being identified. For our purposes, it does not matter where the idea originated—just that there is a potential project. Project quality initiation, therefore, begins with the identification of a potential project and ends with a signed authorization to proceed. Initiation is defined in the PMBOK© Guide as “the process of formally recognizing that a new project exists or that an existing project should continue into its next phase.”1 Project quality initiation is the first stage of the five-stage project quality process model, as depicted in Figure 2-1.

The quality context of the model shows that both the organization and the environment can impact the project. While some projects involve the interface of the organization and the environment, the five-stage structure of project processes usually remains the same. Whether the project involves organizational change or organizational stability, Figure 2-2 identifies the flowchart of activities entailed in this stage.

 

CHAPTER 3: Project Quality Planning

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Planning is defined in the PMBOK© Guide as “the process in which defining and refining objectives and selecting the best of the alternative courses of action to attain the objectives that the project was undertaken to address are performed.”1 The quality planning stage begins with a commitment and authorization to proceed on a project, and ends with the kick-off meeting of project participants that signals the start of project execution. Quality planning follows quality initiation as the second stage in the five-stage project quality process model shown in Figure 3-1.

As is true of all five stages, the management activities will be much more involved on some projects than on others. Large, complex, unfamiliar projects will require more in-depth planning than smaller, simpler, more familiar projects. The typical quality planning activities required are depicted in the flowchart in Figure 3-2.

Project quality pillars, project activities, and project tools facilitate the movement from the signed authorization to proceed to the point at which all project stakeholders commit to the project plan. Table 3-1 categorizes the project quality pillars, activities, and tools for the quality planning stage into a project factors table.

 

CHAPTER 4: Project Quality Assurance

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After project quality planning, both project quality assurance and project quality control begin. Chapter 4 covers project quality assurance and Chapter 5 covers project quality control.

Quality assurance can be defined as “all the planned and systematic activities implemented within the quality system to provide confidence that the project will satisfy the relevant quality standards.”1 For the sake of clarity, we define quality assurance activities to start when the key project stakeholders approve the project plan and the focus of activities shifts from strictly planning to mostly execution. Quality assurance activities continue until the final project deliverables are complete. Quality assurance follows quality planning as the third stage in the five-stage project quality process model and runs largely parallel with project quality control (see Figure 4-1).

The project quality assurance stage as the third stage and the project quality control stage as the fourth stage have unique and dynamic interactions centered around the process improvement and fact-based management tasks. As is true for all the process stages, the level of detail needed during the project quality assurance stage can vary significantly from one project to another. Typical project quality assurance activities are shown in Figure 4-2. The flow of information both from and to the fourth stage (the project quality control stage) is also depicted on this flowchart.

 

CHAPTER 5: Project Quality Control

ePub

Quality control is defined in the PMBOK© Guide as “monitoring specific project results to determine if they comply with relevant standards and identifying ways to eliminate causes of unsatisfactory performance.”1 Control is the activity of ensuring conformance to standards and taking corrective action when necessary to correct problems. Long-term improvements to a process cannot be made until the process is first brought under control.

We define quality control activities to start when processes are qualified in quality assurance. This is an ongoing activity, so quality control activities start repeatedly during a typical project. Quality control activities should continue until the customer accepts the final project deliverables. Quality control is the fourth stage in the five-stage project quality process model, as shown in Figure 5-1.

The project quality control and project quality assurance stages have a large degree of concurrent interaction. For example, if test results are excellent in the project quality control stage, the project deliverables could be accepted rapidly and the project would move to the quality closure stage. On the other hand, if test results are not excellent, more process work in the quality assurance stage may be necessary or some replanning may need to occur back in the quality planning stage.

 

CHAPTER 6: Project Quality Closure

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Closure is defined in the PMBOK© Guide as “formalizing acceptance of the project and bringing it to an orderly end.”1 The quality closure stage begins with the customer’s formal acceptance of the final project deliverables and ends with referrals from the capable, satisfied customer. Quality closure follows quality control as the final stage in the five-stage project quality process model shown in Figure 6-1.

As is true of all five stages, the management activities will be much more involved on some projects than on others. Large, complex, unfamiliar projects will require more in-depth closure procedures than smaller, simpler, more familiar projects. The typical quality closure activities required are depicted in the flowchart in Figure 6-2.

Several factors facilitate the movement from customer acceptance of final project deliverables to the point at which the now-satisfied customer provides referrals. These include the role of the project quality pillars in closure, completion of necessary activities, and correct use of project quality tools. Table 6-1 categorizes these pillars, activities, and tools for the project quality closure stage into the project quality closure factors table.

 

CHAPTER 7: Summary and Challenges

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Project quality management truly is the merging of the two fields of project management and quality management. It is more than a knowledge area in project management and more than a means of better planning and managing improvement projects in quality. It is the systematic adaptation and use of quality tools and knowledge to meet the unique needs of projects.

The four project quality pillars of customer satisfaction, process improvement, fact-based management, and empowered performance are useful for structuring the activities and tools treated in each stage of the five-stage project quality process model: project quality initiation, project quality planning, project quality assurance, project quality control, and project quality closure. The structure of this dual field integration is summarized in the integrated project quality activity matrix presented as Figure 7-1.

While all of the activities shown in FIGURE 7-1 should be performed at some level (they can be streamlined on easy projects and may be very involved on difficult projects), some pose core project quality management challenges. The challenges arise either because these are unfamiliar activities that are not performed often in many organizations, because they are only partly performed, or because they are difficult to accomplish in and of themselves. In any event, many people do not realize the significance of each of these activities.

 

APPENDIX A: Project Quality Participant Empowerment Readiness Assessment (PERA)

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The purpose of the PERA is to measure the project quality empowerment readiness level of individuals and/or teams. It can be used as a 360 degree personal or team self-assessment instrument for prospective sponsors, project managers, and core team members.

For each of the dimensions listed below, circle the number that most closely represents your perception of the individual or team under consideration, using the rating scale below. Comments are optional.

Project Technical Task Maturity: Add the numbers circled for questions 1, 4, 7, 10, and 12, and divide the total by 5.

Project Administrative Psychosocial Maturity: Add the numbers circled for questions 2, 5, 8, 13, and 15, and divide the total by 5.

Project Participant Moral Maturity: Add the numbers circled for questions 3, 6, 9, 11, and 14, and divide the total by 5.

Average scores for any of the factors:

0 – 4.0 = Individual or team is not ready for project quality empowerment at this time

 

APPENDIX B: Ethical Work Culture Assessment (EWCA)

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The purpose of the EWCA is to determine the perceived level of moral development within the organization as a whole and the project team in particular. Think about what it takes for you and the people like yourself (e.g., your co-workers, people in similar positions) to “fit in” and meet expectations in your organization and in your particular project team. Select the number correlated with each response option below that best describes the current interpersonal behavioral styles of your organization and project team. Respond in terms of your perceptions of how things are now, not how you would like them to be, in both your organization and your project team. Place the number that correlates with each option in the appropriate blank spaces below under the columns labeled “organization” and “project team”:

1 = Not at all

2 = To a slight extent

3 = To a moderate extent

4 = To a great extent

5 = To a very great extent

Step 1: The highest total score among scoring steps C, F, and I indicates the level of moral development perceived by the respondent in both the organization and the project team. If C is the highest total score, the ethical work culture of the House of Manipulation predominates; if F is the highest score, the ethical work culture of the House of Compliance prevails; and if I is the highest total score, the ethical work culture of the House of Integrity prevails. Any level score ties are to be interpreted as indicating the lower (or lowest) work environment level of moral development.

 

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