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Delivering Quality in Projects (Part II)

Project Process Quality

Managing qualitatively a project is, like said in the introduction of previous article (see article Delivering Quality in Projects – Part I), important for the success of it. The Project Manager has to make sure he/she understands and makes proper use of the project management processes, the best practices, standards and tools as used in the organisation, he/she is working for.

In a project it’s the responsibility of the Project Manager to manage it qualitatively on a day to day basis. Nevertheless we must not forget the importance of the role of the executive  / steering committee in all of this. They have to take care that the Project Manager remains in line with the prescribed processes and standards and that proper tools are used. Proactively and objectively they must judge, amongst others things, the project achievements, the management of the project, the quality of products and the project risks. If discrepancies are found, they have to steer the project and the project management. This is known as quality assurance.

The executive / steering committee can take the responsibility to keep an eye on things themselves, or they can delegate it to one or more persons. These persons must be independent of the Project Manager and they must report directly to the executive / steering committee. It is obvious that quality assurance cannot be delegated to the Project Manager.

Although it’s a very important part of an organisation, quality assurance isn’t implemented in many organisations yet. And where it is implemented, it’s mostly restricted to checking if the project management documents are created or not. This is a pity, because the actual effort should be in verification of the quality of the content in those documents and thus it’s a missed opportunity to improve the quality of the process.

Can we blame the people whom are part of the Quality Assurance team? Probably not. Possibly they were promoted into this function because of a certain expertise, but most of the time they aren’t proper trained in order to be able to fulfil the job correctly.

So to increase the success rate of the project, each company will have to invest properly in a well-developed quality assurance and staff training in order to perform this function. Otherwise, the problem will continue to occur.

Conclusion

No matter how you look at it, one thing is for sure, even nowadays still too few projects are finished successfully. This is also stated in the Chaos report published by the Standish group. And as long as the management of an organisation doesn’t put the focus on the quality of the management processes of a project and on making sure that the delivered products have obtained the agreed quality, projects will keep on failing over and over again. Improving the quality of both, of course, requires well trained people. And now we are finally touching the biggest problem in many organisations. Training people or employing qualified co-operators are in lots of organisations considered as a too high cost. This attitude is actually very narrow minded, because on the contrary, the reality is that on the long term, it will save lots of money for the organisation.