Quality and Change in Projects
A project is usually a non-routine activity with a well-defined set of desired end results. It can be divided into subtasks that must be accomplished in order to achieve the project goal. (Meredith, 1995). It involves several people performing interrelated activities hence the need for managing such tasks.
Project management could be defined as the process of planning, scheduling and controlling a series of actions or activities in order, getting things done on a project. By working in close relation with the members of the project team, and other external personnel involved to ensure that the project is accomplished within budget, on time and with acceptable performance quality using the available resources. (Harold Kernzer. Project and Program Risk Management 1992)
Most projects have changes made to then at different times in its life cycle. Hence there is a need to understand the project life cycle as defined by (Rory Burke) .
Each project might have a slightly different life cycle but all in all they all have common phases which are:
Phase1: Concept and Initiation Phase: this phase starts the project by establishing a need or opportunity for the product, facility or service. The feasibility of proceeding with the project is investigated and on acceptance moves to the next phase.
Phase2: Design and Development: This second phase uses the guidelines set by the feasibility study to design the product and develop detailed schedules and plans for making or implementing the product.
Phase3:Implementation or Construction: the third phase implements the project as per the baseline plan developed in the previous phase.
Phase4: Commissioning and Handover or Close Out: this phase confirms the project has been implemented or built to the design and terminates the project. As described in Annex 1a
Quality can be define as the totality of features and characteristics of a product our services that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs, and or a trait characteristics used to measure the degree of excellence of a product or services. The acceptance of the final product is judged and determined by the quality of the delivered products ( P. W. Khong) Aspect of quality in project seem to get short shrift in project work its sometime seen as part of the scope of project managements while others see it as part of “Technical Performance” other see it as vague, more or less unmanageable factor in an equally nebulous and unmanageable dimension know as “Customer satisfaction” and therefore best ignored all together.
Therefore quality management is a vital aspect of any project and should be incorporated in any project management .
The purpose of quality management is to increase certainty, and reduce the risk of project failure. It can also provide opportunities for continuous improvement.
The role of quality management is to ensure that all projects are carried out on defined baselines. This is achieved by:
* ensuring that a valid methodology is followed;
* managing that change;
* ensuring formal review and acceptance procedures are adhered to as stated in the ……… document
* ensuring emergent or related issues are resolved; and
* Monitoring the project’s progress.
Ultimately the level of customer satisfaction is true test of quality in any project
All Projects are living things and as such have change at the core of their characteristics. Projects are often aimed at creating change and work best when they are agile enough to adapt to the change that can occur during the life of projects.
Projects are often aimed at creating change and work best when they are agile enough to adapt to the change that can occur during the life of projects.
All projects can experience some kind of change during its life cycle below are four of the more common examples:
1. External changes can occur during the project. Sponsors can have priorities shift, impacting project status or organizational considerations. Markets can change during projects, impacting Scope.
2. Poor project planning can lead to unexpected events that require changes in project Scope, Resources, Schedule, or Team.
3. If the project is by definition aimed at some innovative deliverables, the creativity and learning required for the process can lead to change in project approach and organization.
4. Finally, unpredictability is always a factor to some degree in every project. Serendipitous events can lead us in productive directions we could never had anticipated or planned in the project.