Quality managements are those operational techniques and activities that are aimed at sustaining the essential and distinguishing attributes of a service or product. In most cases, these techniques and activities follows a given standard with the aim of satisfying a given set of requirements. The most important component in the total quality management is the quality control. Quality control needs to be applicable in all stages of a project development life cycle. This implies that there need to be quality control during the design, implementation, construction, delivery, installation, and maintenance.
There are various steps involved during the improvement and sustaining a project’s quality. Firstly, there need to be a clear and concise project definition. Understanding the definition of a project helps managers to make effective use of monetary budget and time; a factor that reduces strains on the company resources. Next, effective quality control will require the manager to plan his/her work. The project control estimates needs to be reviewed to ensure that they are not overly cushioned or optimistic. Team work need to be employed while creating a plan in order to ensure diversified views. Being accommodative to other people’s views enhances communication, and effective communication makes the manager be informed of the challenges facing the quality of the project.
Reasonably, every project is associated with a level of uncertainty and risk. Even when the project has been completed, new challenges crop-up which have the potential of affecting the project. To manage the project quality effectively, a risk register is maintained where every risk is reviewed to establish the likelihood of its occurrence. The register is also used to assess the potential impact of the risk on the completed project. Effective resolutions to the risks are attained by undertaking honest evaluations together with other stakeholders because the manager alone may not understand all the impacts that the risks have on the project. To ensure sustainability, the project manager will have to measure progress on weekly basis. The progress need to be measured against schedule with the aim of determining if the quality measures being implemented are on track.
The choice of the quality management strategies is largely affected by the size and purpose of the project. Nevertheless, these strategies include the top-down, bottom-up, and middle-out methodologies. The top-down strategy emphasizes on the executive guidance and support during the project quality assurance exercise. This method is very effective when the executives speak in a unified and enthusiastic voice which emphasizes on the importance of the project to everyone involved. However, it can lead to disastrous results when the executives fail to consider everybody else’s views. Bottom-up strategy evaluates the manner in which the project team created the solutions. Whenever the perception of the workers is that the steering committee holds all the responsibilities of proposing changes, they will pose resistance. However, when they understand that every participant is consulted, their acceptance to the changes is easy. Middle-out technique encourages full support at every level of the quality management. It therefore requires concerted efforts in finding and communicating the specific benefits of the quality measures taken because everyone needs to be credited for the success of the quality management.
To ensure that the quality measures are in line with the conventional standards, a project manager needs to create leverage through budget, option, and timeline adjustments in order to enhance reliability of the project. The aim of employing leverage during project quality management is to ensure effective management of resources such as time. This also eliminates the risk of falling out of budget. Leverage requires a manager to be extra cautious because its misuse would lead to a greater loss than it would have been without leveraging the process. This is because leveraging utilizes borrowed ideas, and these ideas would complicate the situations in case unforeseen problems crops-up. It is this resulting complexity which leads to greater losses.
Development of the quality control standards involves four main steps: the project quality planning, the collection of data, analysis of the data, and the implementation of the quality measures. Quality planning involves the definition of quantifiable quality objectives. These quality objectives need to be specific to the relevant product as well as its phase during the life cycle, and they should be a reflection of the organization’s quality requirements. The collection of data is important during the quality control. The collected data ensures effective quantitative measurement to determine if there exists compliance with the expected standards, features, and specifications. Data analysis is done with the aim of identifying the solutions that may adversely affect the product quality in order to facilitate preventive or corrective action. To meet the required quality standards, the project may require modifications in its design in order to achieve a sustainable and continuous improvement.
The data analysis techniques are generic, and they are applied in a wide variety of situations. These techniques are fractioned into three basic categories: the process control, diagnostic techniques, and the acceptance sampling. Diagnostic techniques are used in identifying and pinpointing challenges that may affect the quality of the project. These techniques include cause-and-effect diagrams, flowcharts, histograms, location diagrams, Pareto diagrams, and scatter plots. The process control methods helps in controlling the processes that affects a project whose aim is to produce a flow of goods or services. Process control aims on having the process operate in a manner that meets the quality objectives. It also accounts for random fluctuations over which adequate control does not exist. There exist two basic aspects of process control: capability analysis and control charts (Peter, 2003). Control charts help in ascertaining stability in a process as well as detecting the changes that its variability has. Capability analysis helps in considering the ability of a process in meeting the quality objectives.
Quality assurance is one of the most important aspects that ensure success in any project. It helps in streamlining communication which keeps everyone who is involved in the project sufficiently informed. Everyone gets the correct information in time. This eases the process of coming up with the status report which helps the stakeholder have access to the updated state of the project. This also assists the project manager in drafting the end-of-term documentations as he does not have to always start from scratch.