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Quality Management

Quality management includes the processes and activities of the performing organization that determine quality policies, objectives, and responsibilities so that the project will satisfy the needs for which it was undertaken. (“A Guide to the project management body of knowledge ( guide)”, 2013)

There are three processes in quality management. The processes are displayed in the below table.

No Process

No Process

Definition of Quality

Quality is the degree to which a set of inherent or essential characteristics fulfills requirements; this means a product may be a low-grade and high quality at the same time if the requirements are a low-grade product.

Quality is the measurement of how closely the product meets its requirements. Quality is planned in and not inspected in.

When a product is high-quality, it fulfills the requirements your team agreed to when started the work.

Much of quality is centered on customer satisfaction. It should be conformance to requirements and fitness for use.

The current quality approach relies heavily on prevention rather exception. It costs more to fix an issue than to prevent it. A Project manager is responsible and accountable for the quality of the project.

Important Quality Terms

Total Quality Management (TQM)

It states that everyone in the company is responsible for quality. It applies to improvements in processes and results. TQM includes statistical process control.

It focuses on the production of the product instead of the produced product.

Kaizen/Continuous Improvement

It is a Japanese management term that focuses on the constant process improvement of small changes in products or services.

Just-in-time (JIT)

A manufacturing method that focuses on bringing inventory to zero level. It forces on quality as there is no inventory on hand to waste.

ISO 9000

Part of international standards to ensure companies document what they do and adhere to it.

It is not attributable to higher quality, but important component on performing quality assurance.

Statistical independence

When the outcomes of two processes are not linked together, they are statistically independent. Example, applying for a job in two different companies doesn’t increase my chances of receiving a call from the second employer.

Mutually exclusive

A statistical term that states that one choice excludes the others.

Standard Deviation

It is a statistical calculation used to measure and describe how a set of data is organized. It is calculated by:

  1. Averaging all data points to get the mean
  2. Calculating the difference between each data point and the mean
  3. Squaring each of the differences
  4. Dividing the sum of the squared differences by the number of data points minus one
  5. Taking the square root of the number derived in the previous step, step 4.

If the data set is normally distributed, the following statistics will be true:

  • 25% of the data points will fall within from the mean, where  
  • 46% of the data points will fall within from the mean.  
  • 73% of the data points will fall within from the mean, such as  
  • 99966% of the data points will fall within from the mean, such as  

The standard deviation is also used to set quality levels and control limits.

Six Sigma

It is a popular philosophy of quality management that focuses on achieving high levels of quality by controlling the process and reducing defects.

When the quality reaches six sigma standards, the results will be that only 3.4 out of every 1,000,000 outputs do not meet quality standards.

It puts a primary focus on quantifying, measuring, and controlling the quality of products, services, and results.

The goal is to refine the process so that human error and unknown influence no longer exist.

Some industries such as airline and pharmaceutical industries aim for higher quality management than Six Sigma.

Marginal Analysis study the cost of improvements of a product or service and how the costs contribute to an increase in revenue

Prevention vs. Inspection

Prevention is keeping defects from occurring, while inspection is about catching the errors that have occurred before they impact customers & contemporary project manager favors prevention over inspection.

Attribute Sampling vs. Variable Sampling

Attribute Sampling is binary, either a work result conforms to quality or it doesn’t.

Variable Sampling measure how well something conforms to quality.

Example, consider a production facility is making prescription drugs. By using attribute sampling, a product batch would be tested, and it would either pass or fail that inspection. In contrast, using variable sampling, the batch of product would be rated on a continuous scale that showed how well the batch conformed to ideal quality.

Special Causes vs. Common Causes

Special Causes are considered unusual and preventable, whereas common causes are normal.

Tolerances vs. Control Limits

Tolerances deal with the limits your project has set for product acceptance.

Control Limits are set at three standard deviations above and below the mean. The process said to be in control if it falls within limits.

The more rework project managers do, the more time and money they are wasting and the less likely they meet the project schedule and cost baselines.

It is essential to know in advance from the customer what acceptable quality is and how the quality will be measured on the project. Hence, the project manager will determine how to make sure the quality requirements are met.

Quality vs. Grade

Quality is the totality of an entity that bears on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs aka fulfilling requirements of customers’ requests found in:

  • Project scope.
  • Product scope
  • Implied needs

Grade is a category or rank

  • Class of services
  • Types of materials

Grade doesn’t affect quality.

Accuracy vs Precision Quality

Accuracy is an assessment of correctness, where precision is a measure of exactness.

Precise measurements are not necessarily accurate measurements & accurate measurements are not necessarily precise measurements.

Impact of Poor Quality:

The following factors are the manifestation of poor quality;

  • Increased costs
  • Decreased profits
  • Low morale
  • Low customer satisfaction
  • Increased risk
  • Rework
  • Schedule delays

Quality Theorists

  • Joseph M. Juran developed the 80/20 principle, advocated top management involvement.
  • Edwards Deming developed 14 points to total quality management and advocated the PDCA cycle as the basis for quality improvement
  • Philip B. Crosby popularized the concept of the cost of poor quality and advocated “zero defects” and prevention over inspection.

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