May 29, 2010 | Author: PM Hut | Filed under: Quality Management
Quality in Project Management - Zircona or a Diamond?
By Barney Austen
What determines quality? A diamond to some can look like a piece of glass to another. Quality means different things to different people. From a project management perspective though, it has to me measurable – otherwise how can we determine whether the project attained one of the core cornerstones of project delivery “To Quality”.
When a product is being delivered off the shelf, it is expected to deliver “exactly what is says on the tin”. It can be easily judged and a determination made as to whether the quality is as expected or not.
Unfortunately, within many service based projects, this determination is not so black and white. In many instances, particularly in consultancy based deliverables where the project output is a process or perhaps documentation/recommendation, it is not so easy to assess.
Even when the output of a project is a physical entity e.g. a piece of software from an apps agency or a house build being led by an architect, the determination of whether the project has delivered quality can be open to debate unless nailed down by the customer and the services provider in the first place.
Quality can be determined at two levels:
- Objectively - where it is possible to have determined checks and balances.
- Subjectively – where it revolves around judgment or opinion. This is usually the more difficult one to get agreement on.
So what can I do to help ensure there is no debate on the quality of my project?
- Establish a reasonable quality process. There is no point in making anything that does not justify the time/cost involved.
- Establish quality measurement criterion as part of this process. Some of these may be inwardly focused on your business and others are those that you would share with your customer.
- At the beginning of any new contracted project with a customer, ensure that both parties are in agreement to the quality acceptance criterion and how it will be measured. Work with the customer on how quality concerns will be fed back and addressed.
- As the project progresses, make sure that you check/validate its progress against the quality criterion that you set out. Fix things that are going wrong!
The above can be a bit daunting. Process, criterion, etc… can all sound a little heavy handed. It does not need to be. Just think – what is the most straightforward way for me to ensure that I am delivering quality to my customer and for my customer to be able to agree.
How do you manage quality in your business?
Barney Austen is the founder of http://beta.myprojecttracker.com/ (still in Beta), an easy to use, cost effective, powerful tool to provide both business owners and project managers the key information needed to run their projects efficiently and effectively. Barney Austen’s passion is to help businesses through the provision of functionally relevant, but intuitive products. You can read more from Barney on his company’s blog, available here.
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