Quality Issues in Project Management

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There are a number of issues surrounding the general area of “quality” in project management. You will need to be aware of some of the requirements of PRINCE (or PRINCE2) as well as the more general aspects of the ISO 9000 and 14000 series.

2.Quality requirements as part of PRINCE

PRINCE2 (Projects in Controlled Environments) was revised from PRINCE in 1996 and is the accepted standard for the control of projects in the computing area of the public sector. It is also widely used outside this sector as a way of formalising project control procedures.

It lays down 8 key processes concerning (content generally obvious): 1. Directing of the project.
2. Planning of the project
3.Starting the project
4.Initiating the project
5.Controlling a stage of the project
6.Managing product delivery
7.Managing the stage boundaries
8.Closing the project

This could be how any project is organised, of course. But the standard itself lays down a lot of bureaucratic detail about the level and structure of the documentation required.

As part of this procedure there is:

A quality log:a record of any checks carried out on the process (with signatures).

An issues log: a record of any issues which arose from the quality log entries.

A risk log: showing how risks are allocated and subsequently dealt with and by whom.

Of course, despite the adoption of PRINCE2 procedures (or any other procedures) ... projects do still “fail”! (In bucket loads – see the press over a couple of months)

The following web pages may be of interest:
http://www.ogc.gov.uk/methods_prince_2.asp Government source page. http://www.pmtoday.co.uk General PM info.
http://www.usergroup.org.uk/ PRINCE2 user group (you have to join). http://www.prince2.org.uk/ worth a try for background information. http://www.apmgroup.co.uk is part of “Association of PM”

.... and/or run your own internet search.

3.ISO ... What is quality?

Quality systems will be set out either as part of organisational structure or may be required as part of contractual obligations by stakeholders (as is common in defence, aerospace, public contracts and automobile markets).

Either way, systems are established so that the managing organisation can be protected from legal liabilities such as negligence in procedures or practice so far as is possible.

In the United Kingdom, Germany and many other countries quality standards and control are set under the BS-EN-ISO 9000 series. Try a visit the BSI at http://www.bsi.org.uk/ There are about 20 requirements (mostly, again, obvious). Highlights, relevant to project management would be:

Management responsibility - there must be a single point of contact for stakeholders Establish and maintain a documented quality system.
Establish and maintain a system for reviewing customer contracts. Document control to ensure that only the current issues are in use everywhere. The supplier shall carry out a comprehensive system of quality audits. Statistical techniques must be used where appropriate (interesting!)

Financial implications of quality monitoring are called “quality costs” and these are split down in to three categories:

Prevention Costs: the usual costs of planning, training and auditing the process.

Appraisal Costs: any checking activities and costs which arise from them, any costs relating to the analysis of quality data and the storage of records.

Failure Costs - Internal or External:
Internal: any wasted activities - perhaps documents generated but not used or read, changing or rectifying of any work or task already done or underway and any consequent problem solving costs.

External: Product or process faults which result in professional liability claims, complaints by stakeholders about the process or outcome which consequently require investigation or delays in the process which may incur penalty...
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