Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Implementing Quality Improvement Efforts

Sometimes organizations become lost when they implement quality improvement efforts. Applying solutions to quality problems requires a clear and direct route. In most cases, realizing quality improvements involves setting up change requests and taking corrective action.

Change requests are documented records of changes that happen to improve the quality of a project. Change requests can occur in many ways. They can be:
  • oral or written
  • direct or indirect
  • externally or internally initiated
  • legally directed or optional.
Realizing quality improvements also can involve taking corrective action. This process requires aligning the expected project performances with the project plan. This will help ensure that the project is meeting the requirements of the stakeholders.
Corrective action occurs when rework is required during a project. However, it does more than just fix a problem. It also can help you discover the root cause of the problem and prevent reoccurrence.

To handle change requests and corrective action, you must follow certain procedures. Most quality improvements for project management are implemented according to procedures for integrated change control.

This process coordinates changes across entire projects. There are three main characteristics for integrated change control.

1. Influence the factors that generate change to guarantee that changes are valuable.
Not all changes are valuable. During brainstorming sessions, plan quality improvement efforts that focus on factors that generate change.

2. Establish that a change has taken place.
Keeping an accurate paper trail of all changes helps managers establish that change has taken place. In addition, managers should reexamine their processes to ensure that any changes are maintained.

3. Handle the changes when and as they occur.
Learn to manage quality improvement changes as they occur. Managers should understand that possible schedule changes also will influence the cost, risk, quality, and staffing areas of a project.

Remember, quality improvement doesn't just happen. It includes taking corrective action and preparing change requests that are managed according to integrated change control. These procedures can help make quality a reality for your project.

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