Last week, I talked about How to Develop a Quality Management Plan. Today, I’d like to share common quality management mistakes. Being aware of these failure points can help you and your project teams to identify and manage quality risks.
Quality Management Mistakes
1. Failure to Define Quality
Quality means different things to different people. One person may say that they own a high-quality diamond ring. A builder describes his quality homes.
What does quality mean to a project manager and the project team? Quality is the degree to which a project meets the requirements. This implies that the requirements are known and that the needs may be met partially or fully.
2. Failure to Develop Requirements
Scope management includes the development of requirements. Someone — a project manager or a business analyst — must elicit, analyze, document, and validate the requirements including:
- Business requirements – high-level needs or objectives of an organization
- Stakeholder requirements – needs of an individual, group, or organization
- Solution requirements – features and functions of the product, service, or result
- Transition requirements – needs while transitioning from the current state to the desired future state
- Project requirements – processes that should be met during the project
- Quality requirements – condition or criteria used to evaluate whether a project deliverable has been completed
Project managers may create a quality management plan that is useless. The plan may contain too much or not enough information about how the team will approach quality management.
4. Failure to Use the Right Quality Tools
Project managers may lack the knowledge of these seven basic quality tools and how to apply each.
- Cause-and-effect diagram
- Pareto diagrams
- Control charts
- Scatter diagrams
5. Failure to improve project processes
Processes are a series of steps that one or more people take to create output. The output may be something for an external party, or it may be an input to another project process. Project managers use project processes to create interim deliverables such as a:
- Project charter
- Cost baseline
- Project quality management plan
- Requirements document
Processes are prone to problems, namely taking too long, defective outputs, and inconsistent outputs. Therefore, project managers may benefit from a Process Improvement Plan to evaluate and tweak your project processes.
6. Failure to Engage Stakeholders in Quality Assurance
Project managers and their teams define their approach to quality. But plans are of little value if they aren’t used. In the quality assurance process, the project manager and team ensure that the quality plan is actually being executed.
7. Failure to Engage Stakeholders in Quality Control
Before the project deliverables are submitted for approval, the project team inspects and ensures that the deliverables are error free. The quality control process includes inspections and reviews to ensure the quality standards have been met.
Making Quality Management Work for You
As with all facets of project management, our aim is to be pragmatic. We plan, assure, and control quality to benefit the project and to help us meet the project objectives, not for some administrative reason. Let’s consider these seven quality risks and develop a plan that propels each project.
Question: What other quality risks would you add?