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Answer: Project quality management process
Project quality management consists of four main processes:
· Quality Definition.
· Quality Assurance.
· Quality Control.
· Quality improvements.
The initial step of project quality management is to define quality. The project manager and the team mustidentify and define the quality standards to be used in the project .The views of the donor, beneficiaries, organisation and all the stakeholders has to be considered before defining quality. In certain cases the organisation may have some standard definitions of quality that can be used by the project.
A key component of quality definition is to identify quality standards which in turn help in identifying key characteristics that will govern project activities and ensure project outcome, acceptance by beneficiaries and donor.
Quality management is the ability to foresee future requirements and prepare actions that will help bring the desired outcomes. The aim is to prevent defects through regulated and controlled process.
The different participants of quality management system (the key players) when we define quality
· The donor is a source for defining quality; the project manager must communicate with the donor and understand what the donor defines as quality. The donor may have some standards expected from the project and how the project should deliver the expected benefit from the beneficiaries.
· The beneficiaries are another source of quality definition; the project team has to understand the beneficiaries‟ perspective of quality. This perspective will be more focused on fitness of use. The outcome of the project should be relevant to current needs of the beneficiaries and result in improving their lives. A questionnaire can be created by the project team that seeks to understand beneficiaries‟ point of view of quality and project success.
· Another source for quality is the development organisation which may have its own quality standards that reflect technical and managerial nature of the project.
Developing a quality plan and a quality check list is a part of defining quality. The checklist will be used during project implementation phase to ensure that the project team and other actors are delivering the project output according to the quality requirements. Once the quality standards and quality characteristics are defined a quality plan is created that describes the following:
· All the standards relevant to the project are highlighted. Standards have to be followed to comply with the regulatory requirements. The regulatory requirements are set up by the organisation, the donor and external agencies. The local government and professional organisations can be seen as regulators of requirements.
· The requirements that the products and services must meet in order to satisfy the expectations of the stakeholders.
· A condition or situation in which the output falls below quality standard.
· It includes a procedure to ensure quality standards are being followed by all project members.
· It includes steps to monitor and control quality.
· The process to make changes to the quality plan and quality standards.
Assurance is the process of gaining stakeholders confidence by providing evidence that the quality-related activities are being performed effectively and the planned actions will be completed to produce a product or service that will satisfy the stated quality requirements.
Quality assurance provides confirmation based on evidence. The donor, beneficiaries, organisation and other stakeholders are ensured that product developed will meet their needs, expectations and other requirements. It proves the existence and effectiveness of process and procedure, tools, and ensures that safeguards are in place to make sure quality outputs are produced by reaching expected quality level.
Quality assurance happens during the implementation phase of the project. The project performance is completely evaluated. Quality assurance is also done to the process and procedures used to manage the project.
The famous tool used to determine quality assurance is the Deming Cycle. The four steps of this cycle are Plan, Do, Check and Act. It is also called as the PDCA cycle. The same is shown in Figure.
Let us now discuss the four quality assurance steps within the PDCA model.
· Plan: plan and establish the objectives and processes to produce the expected result.
· Do: implement the developed process.
· Check: check and evaluate the process of implementation by comparing the results with the predetermined objectives.
· Act: apply improvement actions if the result needs to be changed.
The PDCA cycle is a never ending cycle of continuous improvement.
Quality control uses techniques and performs activities to compare actual quality performance with requirements and define appropriate actions if there is a quality variance. Improving quality is the goal of quality control Quality control also monitors project performance with respect to scope, budget and schedule. The features of quality control include:
Acceptance: The service or product delivered is either accepted or rejected by the beneficiaries, donor and stakeholders.
Rework: It is the action taken to make a rejected product or service comply to stakeholders expectations
Adjustments: This is done to correct or take necessary steps to avoid future quality problems or defects based on quality control measurements.
There are seven basic quality control tools that are used to for quality control. Pareto charts, check sheet, cause and effect diagram (also called Ishikawa diagram), histogram, scatter diagram, flow chart and control charts are the tools used to control quality.
A Pareto diagram is a unique category of bar diagram that displays the relative frequency of several problems or actions. This is a popular quality control tool and is used to highlight the most common source of defect. It shows the essential causes and assists in choosing the development efforts that are necessary to solve the problem on sequential basis.
Check sheet also called a tally sheet, helps to collect data in real-time and is collected for a qualitative or quantitative recording of information. It is easy, quick and efficient to record data using this method. Cause and effect analysis is also known as Fish Bone or Ishikawa diagram. This diagram shows the association between various events, and is a valuable analysis in developing ideas and in discovering the root cause of any problem. The name fish bone has been coined since it fairly looks like a skeleton of a fish and provides detailed display of the relationship with major bone in the centre.
Histograms show a visual summary of the data, which is simple to understand. When the data given is of various varieties, it is difficult to understand and interpret and histograms provide an easy way to do so. Scatter diagram through a scatter plot helps in suggesting the correlations between variables .In a scatter diagram two sets of corresponding data are plotted. The relation between them is plotted as dots demonstrating the relationships between the corresponding data.
A flow chart is a graphical representation that displays and describes the process in a sequential flow of operations. Control charts are process behaviour charts that show if a performance of a process (manufacturing or business) is totally under a state of control. Control charts facilitate to discover unusual trends with the help of line graphs. These graphs differ from regular line graphs. They have control limit lines at the middle, top and bottom levels. Sample data are drawn in dotted lines on the graph to estimate process situation and developments.
Quality improvement It is a systematic approach to make the process of work more effective, efficient and appropriate by removing rework, unwanted work, loss and frustration. Quality improvement aims at closing the gap between current and expected levels of quality by understanding and eliminating system deficiencies and addressing strengths to improve or redesign project processes using methods and tools. There are a number of quality improvement approaches, which ranges from improving individual performance to redesigning entire project processes. The following four steps are common to all approaches of quality even though they might differ in terms of time, resources and complexity.
· Identify the area that needs improvement by using data obtained by the quality control process.
· Analyse the problem or system. The cause of the problem may be internal or external this has to be, the team has to investigate the cause and its implications to the project
· Develop potential solutions or change that may be likely to remove the problem of the system. Keeping budget and project schedule in consideration the team brainstorms ideas and potential solution to the problem. The team decides and chooses the best alternative. Test and implement the chosen solution. The team first tests the solution on a small scale, once it is confirmed the solution is viable it implements the solution in a full scale.