MBA management

Quality Meaning

The American Heritage Dictionary defines quality as an “attribute’, a measurable characteristic. This attribute can be used to set standards and measure and compare quality. Quality varies due to variations in the attribute. Controlling the variation to keep the attribute at the desired level is called ‘quality control’. When the attribute is within tolerance limits, then quality is under control, but when it crosses tolerance limits, corrective action is necessary.

Quality and quality control have two aspects: one, the quality of design and, the other, the quality of conference. Design includes the grade of materials, physical and performance specifications, tolerances and the process standards that may produce such attributes. The product is manufactured to these design standards. The manufacturing process is designed to attain these standards.

Quality of conference is the degree to which these design standards are attained. A higher degree of conference increases the probability of delivering a product of the desired standards. An important aspect of quality refers to customer and user of the product. When you take a business view of quality, the customer’s perception of quality is the one that matters. One common measure of good quality is customer satisfaction.

Customer satisfaction is attained if quality conforms to the customer’s expectation and also meets the requirement of performance and cost. Customer satisfaction therefore is a function defined as:

Customer satisfaction = f (Quality standards, Functional performance, cost of performance)

To keep the quality under control and to meet the desired standards, a series of steps have to be taken. To steps are called quality control steps. It comprises measuring and monitoring activities, namely, inspections, tests, reviews and control mechanisms to take corrective action if the measured quality attribute has violated the set standards.

Quality vs. Grade

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. Quality is all about fulfilling requirements. 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.

Implementing Project Quality 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 project team has to identify the customers and understand their stated and implied needs. Transform their needs into workable solutions. Design, develop and deliver product/ service/ solutions that fulfill their needs. The PMBOK states it as “conference 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. The top management must be committed in creating and deploying well defined process, systems, methods and resources for achieving those goals.

• Plan do check act
Dr. W. Edwards 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 process that every project passes through.

It is a proven method for continuous process improvement. It also forms the basic foundation for the project management processes.

PLAN: Establish a well defined process and methods with clear objectives to deliver products/ service as per agreed specifications.

Do: Deploy the planned process and methods across the organization/ Project.

CHECK: Measure and evaluate the effectiveness of the processes, systems, methods and outposts against objectives and specifications.

ACT: Based on the effectiveness of the process, take appropriate actions which are required for improvement?

Repeating the above cycle again and again will result in continuous improvement of the process and will take us closer to perfect process and product closer to the specifications.

Preparing for Quality

Before a project manager can plan for quality, he must know what the quality expectations are. Specifically, what are the quality standards of the performing organization and which quality standards are applicable to the project? As part of the planning processes, the project manager and the project team must identify the requirements of planning, determine how the requirements may be met, and identify the costs and time demands to meet the identified requirements.

One of the key principles of project quality management is that quality is planned in, not inspected in. Planning for quality is more cost-effective than inspecting work results and doing the work over, or correcting problems to adhere to quality demands.

The project manager must consider the cost of achieving the expected level of quality in contrast to the cost of nonconformance. The cost of quality includes training, safety measures, and action to prevent poor quality. The cost of nonconference can far outweigh the cost of quality with its possible loss of customers, the rework needed, lost time, lost materials, and the danger to workers.

Determining the Quality Policy

Top management should define the quality policy; this is part of the organizational process assets. The quality policy of the organization may follow a formal approach such as ISO 9000, Six Sigma, or Total Quality Management (TOM), or it may have its own direction and approach to satisfying the demand for quality.

The project team should adapt the quality policy of the organization to guide the project implementation. This ensures the management of the project and the deliverables of the project are in alignment with the performing organization’s quality policy. In addition, the project manager should document how the project will fulfill the quality policy in both management and in the project deliverable.

But what if the performing organization doesn’t have a quality policy/ or what if two different entities are working together on a project and they use differing quality policies? In these circumstances, the project management team should create the quality policy for the project. The quality policy, in these instances, will accomplish the same goals as a company’s quality policy: to define quality requirements and determine how to adhere to them.

Regardless of where the quality policy comes from- management or the project team the project stakeholders must be aware of the quality policy. This is important because the quality policy, and associated quality methodology, may require actions that could lengthen the project schedule. For example, quality audits, peer reviews, and other quality centric activities. In addition to the required time to fulfill the quality requirements, there may be additional costs incurred.

Planning for Quality

Once the project manager has assembled the needed inputs, and evaluated the product description and project scope, he can get to work creating a plan on how to satisfy the quality demands. He’ll need to rely on the documentation created to date, his project tam, and the project’s key stakeholders for much of the input. In addition, the project manager will use several different techniques to plan on meeting quality. As planning is an iterative process, so too is quality planning. As events happen within the project, the project manager should evaluate the events and then apply corrective actions. This is a common PMI theme: plan implement, measure, react and document! Throughout the project implementation, things will go away, team members may complete less acceptable work, stakeholders will demand changes, and so on; all of these variables must be evaluated for their impact on project quality. What good is a project if its “completed” on time, but the quality of the deliverable is unacceptable? Technically, if the product is unacceptable, the project is not finished since it failed to meet the project scope.

Creating the Quality Management Plan

The end result of the quality planning is to find a method to implement the quality policy. Because planning is iterative, the quality planning sessions often require several revisits to the quality planning processes. On longer projects, there may be scheduled quality planning sessions to compare the performance of the project in relation to the quality that was planned.

One of the major outputs of quality planning is the quality management plan. This document describes how the project manager and the project team will fulfill the quality policy. In an ISO 9000 environment, the quality management plan is referred to as the “project quality system.” The quality management plan addresses the following three things about the project and the project work:

• Quality Control (OC)
Work results are monitored to see if they meet relevant quality standards. If the results do not meet thee quality standards, the project manager applies root cause analysis to determine the cause of the poor performance and then eliminates the cause. Quality control is inspection oriented.

• Quality Assurance (QA)
The overall performance is evaluated to ensure the project meets the relevant quality standards. Quality assurance maps to an organization’s quality policy and is typically a managerial process. Quality assurance is generally considered the work of applying the quality plan.

• Quality improvement
The project performance is measured and evaluated, and corrective actions are applied to improve the product and the project. The improvements can be large or small depending on the condition and the quality philosophy of the performing organization.

Quality Assurance

Quality assurance (QA) is the sum of the planning and the implementations of the plans the project manager, the project team, and management does to ensure the project meets the demands of quality. QA is not something that is done only at the end of the project, but before and during the project. In some organizations, the Quality Assurance department or another entity will complete the QA activities. QA is interested in finding the defects and then fixing the problems. There are many different approaches to QA, depending on the quality system the organization or project team has adapted. There are two types of QA:

• Internal QA: Assurance provided to management and the project team>
• External QA: Assurance provided to the external customer of the project

Preparing for Quality Assurance

There are several inputs the project manager and the project team will need to prepare for QA:

The quality management plan
This plan defines how the project team will implement and fulfill the quality policy of the performing organization.

Quality metrics
Quality control tests will provide these measurements. The values must be quantifiable so results may be measured, compared, and analyzed. In other words, “pretty close to on track’ is not adequate; “95 percent pass rate” is more acceptable.

The process improvement plan
This plan aims to improve the project, not just the project’s product.

Work performance information
The results of the project work as needed this includes technical performance measures, project status, and information on what the project has created to date, corrective actions, and performance reports.

Approved change requests
Change requests that have been approved and fleshed into the project are needed because their existence may bear on the content of the quality management plan, the quality of the project processes, and the project deliverable. All changes should be formally documented.

Results of quality control
The measures taken by thee project manager and the project team to inspect the project deliverables quality are fed back into the QA process.

Implemented actions
Any change requests, defect repair, corrective action, or preventive actions that have been taken in the project should be documented and submitted to the QA process.

Applying Quality Assurance

The QA department, management, or in some instances even the project manager can complete the requirements for QA> QA can be accomplished using the following tools, the same tools used during quality planning:

• Benefit cost analysis
• Benchmarking
• Flowcharting
• Design of experiments
• Cost of quality

Quality Audit

Quality audits are about learning. The idea of a quality audit is to identify the lessons learned on the current project to determine how to make things better for this project and other projects within the organization. The idea is that Susan the project manager can learn from the implementations of bob the project manager and vice versa.

Quality audits are formal reviews of what’s been completed within a project, what’s worked, and what didn’t work. The end result of the audit is to improve performance for the current project, other projects, or the entire organization.

Quality audits can be scheduled at key intervals within a project or Surprise! They can come without warning. The audit process can vary depending on who is completing the audit; internal auditors or hired, third party experts.

Preparing for Quality Control

Quality control relies on several inputs, such as the following:

• The quality management plan
The quality management plan defines how QA will be applied how QA will be applied to the project, the expectations of quality control, and the organization’s approach for continuous process improvement.

• Work results
The results of both the project processes and the product results are needed to measure the results of the project team’s work and compare it to the quality standards. The expected results of the product and the project can be measured from the project plan.

• Quality metrics
The operational definitions that define the metrics for the project are needed so QC can measure and react to the results of project performance.

• Quality checklists
If the project is using checklists to ensure that project work is completed, a copy of the checklists will be needed as part of quality control. The checklists can then serve as an indicator of completed work and expected results.

• Approved change requests
Approved change requests have an effect on how the project work is scheduled and performed, which may affect the project’s overall quality.

Inspecting Results

Although quality is planned into a project, not inspected in, inspections are needed to prove the conference to the requirements. An inspection can be done on the project as a whole, on a portion of the project work, the project deliverable, or even on an individual activity. Inspections are also known as:

• Reviews
• Product reviews
• Audits
• Walkthroughs

Statistical Sampling

Statistical sampling is the process of choosing a percentage of results at random. For example; a project creating a medical device may have 20 percent of all units randomly selected to check quality. This process must be completed on a consistent basis throughout the project, rather than on a sporadic schedule.

Statistical sampling can reduce the costs of quality control, but mixed results can follow if an adequate testing plan and schedule are not followed. The science of statistical sampling (and its requirements to be effective0 is an involved process. There are many books, seminars, and professionals devoted to the process.

Results of Quality Control

Quality control should, first and foremost, result in quality improvement. The project manager and project team, based on the results of the tools and techniques to implement quality control, apply corrective actions to prevent unacceptable quality and improve the overall quality of the project management processes.

The corrective actions and the defect repair the project manager and the project team want to incorporate into the project may require change requests and management approval. The value and importance of the change should be evident so the improvement to quality is approved and folded into the project. In addition to quality improvement, there are other results of quality control:

• Acceptance decisions
The work results are either accepted or rejected. Rejected items typically mean rework.

• Rework
Conformance to quality results in rework. Rework costs time and money and contribute to projects being late, over budget, or both. It is always more cost effective to do the work right the first time than to do it correctly the second.

• Completed checklist
If the project is using checklists to confirm the completion of work, then the completed checklists should become part of the project records. Some project managers require the project team member completing the checklist to initial the checklists as whole and complete.

• Process adjustments
When results of inspections indicate quality is out of control, then process adjustments may be needed to make immediate corrective actions or planned preventative actions to ensure quality improves. Process adjustments, depending on the nature of the nature of the adjustment, may qualify for a change request and b funneled through the change Control system as part of integration management.

• Recommendations
The project manager and the project team can also make recommendations for additional defect repair, preventative actions, corrective actions, and even additional change requests.

Quality Control (QC)

Quality control (QC) requires the project manager, or other qualified party, to monitor and measure project results to determine that the results are up to the demands of the quality standards. If the results are unsatisfactory, root cause analysis follows the quality processes. Root cause analysis is needed so thee project manager can determine the cause and apply corrective actions. On the whole, QC occurs throughout the life of a project, not just at its end.

QC is also not only concerned with the product the project is creating, but with the project management processes. QC measures performance, scheduling, and cost variances. The experience of the demands the project team work extreme hours to meet an unrealistic deadline; team morale suffers and likely so does the project work the team is completing.

The project team should do the following to ensure competency in quality control:

• Conduct statistical quality control, such as sampling and probability
• Inspect the product to keep errors away from the customer
• Perform attribute sampling to measure conference to quality on a per unit basis
• Conduct variable sampling to measure the degree of conference
• Study special causes to determine anomalies to quality
• Research random causes to determine if the results are within, or without, an acceptable level of quality
• Check the tolerance range to determine if the results are within, or without, an acceptable level of quality
• Observe control limits to determine if the results are in, or out, of quality control.
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Review Questions
  • 1. What do you mean by project quality management? How will implement project quality management in a software project?
  • 2. Who will determine the quality policy? How is it determined?
  • 3. Write short notes on ‘quality management plan’.
  • 4. Wwrite short notes on the following
    a) Quality assurance
    b) Statistical sampling
    c) Histograms
    d) Pareto charts
    e) Run chart
    f) Scatter diagram
  • 5. How will you prepare the quality assurance in a software concern?
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