Time for another update on my learning project. Last week, I attended the second workshop at the CCE (Centre for Continuing Education). I learned about Quality Management. The word “quality” defined in the dictionary as, “the degree of excellence of something.”
The essence of quality management is to ensure that a project is efficient and effective and that it meets it’s intended objectives and overall planned performance. At the workshop, we discussed some examples of why a project could fail. Besides not meeting its objectives, a project could fail due to the following reasons ( can you think of other reasons?):
- If the project scope is not clearly defined
- The design standards were not followed properly
- Team miscommunication
- Unclear rules and responsibilities
- Not allocating enough time or resources
- Not monitoring the project progress
- Lack of team experience and knowledge
- Having too many cooks in the kitchen. (and the list can keep going)
Quality Management is not only feedback that is collected and analyzed after the completion of a project, but also it is an integral part of project management that starts and continues at every stage of a project. Quality management focuses on excellence by exceeding expectations and keeping the project on track.
Quality management consists of 4 processes (and they all start with the word quality!):
- Quality definition: In order to define project quality, all project stakeholders should come to an agreement on how they all define “quality” in terms of the overall characteristics of the project, its objectives, and its outcomes
- Quality assurance: provides confirmation to stakeholders on project efficiency and standards. It is a kind of audit on project progress and its phases that are usually planned at the beginning of a project. A common tool used in quality assurance is the PDCA cycle; Plan – Do – Check – Act, depicted in the graph below
- Quality control provides early detection to prospective problems or issues in a project phase and is usually completed at the end of every phase
- Quality improvement helps in eliminating waste and unnecessary project costs by considering current process or system strengths and identifies deficiencies for continued improvement. It
A good example discussed at the workshop regarding the importance of quality assurance and quality control is the NASA Space Shuttle Challenger disaster that occurred in 1986 that exploded 73 seconds after its flight. Report analysis completed after the tragedy discovered that it was due to certain flaws (o-rings and launch temperature) that may have been detected but were not addressed properly. The lack of quality control and quality assurance, in this case, caused more losses beyond just monetary costs.
We also identified 4 steps for improving the quality management process as follows:
- identifying areas that could be improved in the process, and
- analyzing the issue through further investigations, ‘
- developing solutions or alternatives that could help solve the issue, and finally
- testing and implementing the chosen alternative or solution to the problem.
I find quality management a really interesting topic, and the more I learn about it the more detailed all the items and processes get. In my next post, I plan to discuss more items and principles related to quality management.