Project management is one of those topics that have a wide variety of opinions on how to do it right. But when we’re talking about project management, it is always with a Quality-oriented focus on improvement.
Simply put, we’re trying to answer the question: is the project on track? Quality processes should be in place to ensure that the project really does have all of the processes in place to meet the necessary requirements.
Quality control should come into play as well — after all, we can’t just put any old processes into place, right? We need to ensure that we’re looking carefully at each one and asking whether it’s the right way to go about reaching the destination. Everyone wants a project closed, but if things aren’t done the right way then everything goes off kilter quickly.
For example, if you know that a project should include strong recordkeeping but not all of the necessary records are there, do you proceed? In other systems, some might feel that they have reached all of the big objectives, so if there are small details missing then it’s okay. But the problem with this plan is that when you skip over the little details, they do indeed come back. So the mission here is to pay attention to all details, not just the ones that seem important at the time. The trouble also sets in when the project is closed but has to be reopened for routine review. If everything hasn’t been done based on Quality standards, is the project really done? Not really, because the recordkeeping wasn’t done.
We need to look at project management with Quality standards as a normal part of doing business, rather than doing Quality. After all, the framework is designed to improve productivity rather than take away hours in the workday.
So, to recap everything:
Are we looking at quality for its own merits, rather than seeing it get mixed up with other concepts? After all, remember that quality is all about having things done to fulfill requirements, which would in turn take into account the implied needs of a project. Sometimes a badly run project is simply one that doesn’t have its requirements sketched out in full before the production took place. Fixing things while the project is in progress is ideal, but not always possible.
One important part of the process would have to be prevention. Think about the last project that went off the rails a bit. Did you do everything that you can in order to prevent mistakes? If that’s not the case, then it’s time to look at things differently from here, and to try to improve over time. The American Society for Quality suggests that quality improvement procedures focus on how to turn things around, not just after the project is finished.
Overall, we think that more people should talk about project management as it relates to the subject of Quality, rather than making it an afterthought.