Project managers should continually strive to increase the value they add to client projects. Project success will be swayed by measurable metrics (cost and delivery time, for example), but the real value provided may be based upon quality – which is measured ultimately by client and stakeholder satisfaction. It is in this area that project managers provide some of their greatest benefit, ensuring quality work is maintained throughout and lessons learned from the requirement to correct shortcomings.
Specify quality at the outset, monitor throughout, and learn from review
The expectation of quality will be set out by the specifications detailed at the project procurement and planning stage. During the project, continual reference to the benefits that the project will provide to the client will help the project manager ensure maintenance of quality. Equally importantly, the project manager should know the questions to ask when reviewing how a project was handled and quality maintained. In this way, lessons learned are not only reinforced by examination but also carried forward to subsequent projects.
When conducting final project review and analysis, make certain that your project management team learns lessons about quality management by asking the following questions:
1. Did the criteria set for quality measure what was required?
2. Were stakeholder inputs incorporated into the project quality requirements, and how was this evidenced?
3. When reviewing the quality control techniques and tools used, how effective were they and could their use be improved?
4. Were shortfalls in quality acted upon, how, and how efficient was any remedial action?
5. Did the client note the quality aspects of the deliverable when accepting the final product or service that the project provided?
Make sure your conclusion is conclusive
The final review will be the end-point of a project. It is the duty of the project manager to make sure that this review is fully conclusive. The review should examine all aspects of the project and project management processes used to control each task, and due regard must be paid to the quality aspects of the project. Only by asking the right questions, and being critical in the process of answering them, can lessons be learned: and when they are, it is the project manager’s job to ensure these learnings are carried forward to subsequent projects.