Meeting Quality Targets on Projects

ProjectManager.com

As a project manager you must insure the quality of the project. In this training video, Jennifer Bridges, PMP, discusses how to set and meet quality targets throughout your project planning and monitoring phases. 

In Review: How to Meet Your Quality Targets

Jennifer discussed the key ways to meet the quality targets on your projects. Quality targets should be defined and setup at the start of the project, even before the planning phase.

Each project is unique and each industry has their own definitions of quality, therefore it’s important to clarify what quality means for this particular project. Nearly every project, however, experiences internal and external pressures to cut costs, cut time and, inevitably, cut quality. 

These five steps will help you plan, manage and preserve the quality measures on your project:

  1. Define the quality. Do this early in the project.
  2. Set targets, and use milestone tools in your planning software to add them to the overall plan. 
  3. Communicate the targets. If the team doesn’t know the goal, how can they meet it?
  4. Measure. Define relevant testing processes to measure quality targets and assess effectiveness.
  5. Take action. If some aspect of your project is not aligned with the quality target, bring in key stakeholders to discuss what action should be taken. 

Pro-Tip: Make sure you’ve taken into account quality measures required by external vendors or clients at the start of the project so you don’t overlook key targets. During the project execution, keep external stakeholders looped in to your project plan with client-level access to your project management software tools. You can customize their access to only share relevant project data. With our team, for example, we rely heavily on the social collaboration features to share updates with our distributed team, a level of transparency that is becoming more the industry standard in the way we work. You can learn more in our support video on users and security, as security seems to be the biggest impediment to most teams to sharing project files and data online.

It can’t be stressed enough that communication is key. An unknown quality target easily becomes a project risk, and is easily avoided with proper communication and planning with stakeholders at the table.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this video and have a better grasp of how to manage quality.

Thanks for watching!

Transcription

Hello, my name is Jennifer Bridges, Director at ProjectManager.com. Thank you for joining our whiteboard session today on meeting quality targets on projects and how to improve project results.

It’s that time again. We’re off to the races on projects. Many companies today are trying to implement things as quickly as they can to expand their business, expand markets, and roll out new product launches in order to gain market share. How do we, as project managers, do that without affecting the quality of our project?

We think there are five steps to incorporate into our planning methods. Number one, we want to define the quality. What does that really mean? What does the quality on our project mean? I have a mentor that says ‘version one is better than version none’. In some cases it’s better to get things to market before they’re perfect. We as project managers, and sometimes technical people, like to get things perfect. A lot of times we can’t do that in some markets.

Sometimes there’s actually a need we’re trying to meet. So it’s important to define the quality and what that means for our project, which could mean something different to other projects. Define it, agree on it, and incorporate it into the plan.

Number two, set targets. Set the literal targets of what we’re going to be measuring against. How do we come up with those targets? We find it effective to hold workshops and include any stakeholders that may provide input into the targets and what we need to incorporate. Also, include the team members to make sure what we’re trying to incorporate and measure is actually realistic. Also, legal compliance. There are many industries that have legal requirements that must be managed and maintained throughout the project so that once something is rolled out to market it actually meets those compliance requirements.

Third is to communicate the targets. The targets have been defined, they’ve been incorporated into the plan, so now all parties need to know what the targets are in order to incorporate those into their own plans and to measure them and track them along. We have do indentify who is responsible for actually communicating to sub-plans, who is responsible for managing those, maintaining them and getting them back on track. Who is responsible for testing the targets and the metrics? Who is responsible for approving those? We need to get all of that defined and incorporated into the plan.

Then we need to measure. Now that we have everything defined, it’s agreed upon, it’s incorporated into the plan and it’s been communicated to all parties impacted, we need to actually measure that. So how do we do it? Who does it? We need to incorporate those decisions into the plan and make sure that the appropriate party is actually measuring the metrics all along and making sure that they’re within the guidelines, within the agreements made within the team, and meeting legal compliance.

The fifth step is to take action. If one finds that the targets are not being met and the quality objectives, it’s important to take action quickly. How do we that? Who does that? Who escalates? It’s important to get things on track. We’ve got to decide if we’re going to escalate this issue, cancel the project, or back things out. Many times it’s very important to make those decisions quickly and be able to either cancel the project or do something to get it back on track.

We think those are five important steps to incorporate quality and improve project results but also increase the stakeholder satisfaction and team support. We hope you find them valuable and can incorporate them into your project. If you need any additional tips, tools and techniques for quality plans on your projects, feel free to visit us at ProjectManager.com.

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