Thursday, June 28, 2007

Monitoring IT Project Quality

Theodore Rubin once said, "The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise, and thinking that having problems is a problem."

In IT project management, you need to prepare for possible problems and implement processes that will help you determine whether your project is producing quality results. The purpose of quality in project management is to ensure that the project accomplishes what it set out to do, despite any problems that may occur.

There are a number of international organizations that provide valuable information on the use of quality standards in project management. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO), one of these organizations, defines quality as "the totality of characteristics of an entity that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs."

There are three main processes that can help you monitor your project for quality and potential problem areas. The processes are quality planning, quality assurance, and quality control. Although these processes overlap, they each have their own particular role to fulfill in IT project management.

1. Quality planning
Quality planning is useful for identifying which quality standards are needed for the project, and ensuring those standards are achieved. In an IT project, quality planning could involve considerations for system growth, or making sure that consistent and concise information is being created.

The design of experiments is an instrument used in quality planning to determine which variables will have the most effect on the outcome of a process. You can use this instrument for determining cost and schedule trade-offs.

2. Quality assurance
The quality assurance process is used for evaluating the quality standards that have been previously identified during the quality planning process, and also at various stages throughout the project. Quality assurance will help to ensure that these standards will meet the needs of the project.

Benchmarking, an example of quality assurance, is used to determine the best ways to improve quality by doing comparisons to other projects in an attempt to meet or beat that level of quality.

3. Quality control
The quality control process is useful for observing project results to ensure they meet the standards you've set. You use the observations to improve the overall quality of the project.

The quality control process helps you determine whether products or services will be rejected or accepted. If rejected, it will be necessary to rework the product or service to meet requirements or specifications. If rejection occurs and rework is necessary, the team should make adjustments to the process to prevent future quality problems.

The Pareto Analysis/Diagram is a tool implemented during the quality control process to analyze and graphically display historical data for specific problems in a project.

Remember, by carefully implementing the quality management processes described above, your team can ensure quality in all of its IT projects.

2 comments:

Kenley William said...
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Kenley William said...

PMP is highly respected within both IT & non-IT communities where strong project management skills are required. If you plan on a long term career as a project manager, then yes, even with your level of experience, I would suggest getting your PMP. You can prepare yourself for the exam in one of the leading training providers like http://www.pmstudy.com . You can do minimal prep-work to get 40 PMI® Contact Hours and apply to PMI for PMP Exam before the class begins.