Visit Audio Recordings for the audio version of this section.
- Define statistical measurement terminology.
- Identify sources of information for the planning process.
- Identify and describe the techniques for controlling .
- Describe the results of planning and controlling .
High is achieved by planning for it rather than by reacting to problems after they are identified. Standards are chosen and processes are put in place to achieve those standards.
During the of the project, services and products are sampled and measured to determine if the is within for the requirements and to analyze causes for variations. This evaluation is often done by a separate group, and knowledge of a few process measurement terms is necessary to understand their reports. Several of these terms are similar, and it is valuable to know the distinction between them.
The quality plan specifies the of the product or process; the size of the range between those limits is the tolerance. are often written as the mean value, plus or minus the tolerance. The plus and minus signs are written together, ±.
Tolerance in Gasoline Production
Tools are selected that can measure the closely enough to determine if the measurements are within and if they are showing a trend. Each measurement tool has its own .
The choice of tolerance directly affects the cost of quality (COQ). In general, it costs more to produce and measure products that have small . The costs associated with making products with small for variation can be very high and not proportional to the gains. For example, if the cost of evaluating each screen as it is created in an online tutorial is greater than delivering the product and fixing any issues after the fact, then the COQ may be too high and the instructional designer will tolerate more defects in the design.
Defining and Meeting Client Expectations
Clients provide specifications for the project that must be met for the project to be successful. Recall that meeting project specifications is one definition of project success. Clients often have expectations that are more difficult to capture in a written specification. For example, one client will want to be invited to every meeting of the project and will then select the ones that seem most relevant. Another client will want to only be invited to project meetings that need client input. Inviting this client to every meeting will cause unnecessary frustration. Listening to the client and developing an understanding of the expectations that are not easily captured in specifications is important to meeting the client’s expectations.
Project surveys can capture how the client perceives the project performance and provide the project team with data that is useful in meeting client expectations. If the results of the surveys indicate that the client is not pleased with some aspect of the project, the project team has the opportunity to explore the reasons for this perception with the client and develop recovery plans. The survey can also help define what is going well and what needs improved.
Sources of Planning Information
Planning for is part of the initial planning process. The early scope, budget, and schedule estimates are used to identify processes, services, or products where the expected grade and should be specified. Risk analysis is used to determine which of the risks the project faces could affect .
Several different tools and techniques are available for planning and controlling the of a project[. The extent to which these tools are used is determined by the project complexity and the quality management program in use by the client.
Quality Management Methodology
The quality management methodology required by the client is used. The project manager must provide the documentation the client needs to prove compliance with their methodology. There are several different quality management methodologies, but they usually have characteristics that are similar to the ones described previously in the text.
Many processes are more complicated than a simple sequence of related events that include several different paths. A uses standard symbols to diagram a process that has branches or loops. Diamonds indicate decisions, and arrows indicate the direction of the flow of the process, as shown in Figure 10.8.
Figure 10.8 Flowchart of a Process
The process used to plan and assess can be described using flowcharts. They are useful for communicating processes that have logical branches that can be determined by simple yes or no questions. Flowcharting is also useful for discovering misunderstanding in project roles and responsibilities and communicating responsibility for work processes.
When products like shoes were made by hand, artisans would seek some degree of standardization by marking standard lengths for different parts of the product on their workbench. In modern management practice, if a particular method or product is a standard of , comparing your organization’s plan to it is called . If a product or service is similar to something that is done in another industry or by a competitor, the project planners can look at the best practices that are used by others and use them as a comparison.
Because the cost of prevention is more often part of the project budget, the case must be made for increasing the project t programs, like , require that expenditures for are justified using a cost-to-benefit analysis that is similar to calculating the cost of quality, except that it is a ratio of cost of increasing quality to the resulting benefit. A cost-benefit analysis in some programs can take into account nonfinancial factors such as client loyalty and improvements to corporate image and the cost-to-benefit analysis takes the form of a written analysis rather than a simple numeric ratio. It is similar to determining the cost of quality (COQ).
Design of Experiments
Measuring for of manufactured products or use of repetitive processes requires taking . Specialists in design a test regimen that complies with statistical requirements to be sure that enough are taken to be reasonably confident that the analysis is reliable. In project management, the testing experiments are designed as part of the and then used to collect data during the .
If some of the functions of a project are repetitive, statistical process controls can be used to identify trends and keep the processes within . Part of the planning for controlling the of repetitive processes is to determine what the are and how the process will be sampled.
Cause and Effect Diagrams
When control charts indicate an assignable cause for a variation, it is not always easy to identify the cause of a problem. Discussions that are intended to discover the cause can be facilitated using a cause-and-effect or where participants are encouraged to identify possible causes of a defect.
Diagramming Quality Problems
Figure 10.9 Cause and Effect Diagram
Each branch of the diagram can be expanded to break down a category into more specific items.
An engineer and the electrician work on one of the branches to consider possible causes of power fluctuation and add detail to their part of the fishbone diagram, as shown below.
Figure 10.10 Possible Causes of Power Fluctuation
Check Sheets, Histograms, and Pareto Charts
When several problems need to be solved, a project manager must choose which ones to address first. One way to prioritize problems is to determine which ones occur most frequently. This data can be collected using a , which is a basic form on which the user can make a check in the appropriate box each time a problem occurs or by automating the data collection process using the appropriate technology. Once the data are collected, they can be analyzed by creating a type of frequency distribution chart called a . A true histogram is a column chart where the width of the columns fill the available space on the horizontal axis and are proportional to the category values displayed on the x axis, while the height of the columns is proportional to the frequency of occurrences. Most histograms use one width of column to represent a category, while the vertical axis represents the frequency of occurrence.
A variation on the histogram is a frequency distribution chart invented by economist Vilfredo Pareto known as a Pareto chart, in which the columns are arranged in decreasing order with the most common on the left and a line added that shows the cumulative total. The combination of columns and a line allows the user to tell at a glance which problems are most frequent and what fraction of the total they represent.
Planning and Control Results
The quality plan is produced during the . The methods, procedures, and logic are described to demonstrate a commitment to a project of high . The plan identifies the products or services that will be measured and how they will be measured and compared to benchmarks. A flowchart demonstrates the logic and pathways to improve the plan.
During the , data are collected by measuring according to the design specified in the plan. The data are charted and analyzed. If variations are due to assignable causes, change requests are created.
- Statistical control terms that are commonly used are tolerance (the range between ), flowchart (a diagram showing decision branches and loops), (comparison to best practices), fishbone diagram (shows possible causes of quality problems), check sheet (form used to record frequency of problem occurrences), histogram (column chart that shows frequency of problems), and Pareto chart (histogram sorted by frequency from highest to smallest with a line that shows total cumulative problems).
- The quality planning process uses initial scope, budget, and schedule estimates to identify areas that need quality management.
- Control of in repetitive processes use statistical control methods that involve designing testing while considering the cost of quality, taking measurements, and then analyzing the data using run charts that show and trends. Methodologies are compared to the best practices by competitors, which is called . Errors are documented using check sheets and analyzed using fishbone diagrams, histograms, or Pareto charts.
- The products of planning and controlling are a quality management plan, data, analysis documents, and proposals for improvement
Project quality focuses on the end product or service deliverables that reflect the purpose of the project.
How well something meets the expected or specified requirements of its grade.
Includes the major activities needed to accomplish the work of the project. PMI calls this phase “carrying out the work.”
The upper and lower extremes of allowable variation.
The management of production standards through statistical interpretation of random product measurements, which emphasizes consistency and accuracy.
The control limits of variations in quality
Randomly selected subsets from the total population.
A diagram that uses standard symbols to display a process that has branches or loops.
Comparing your organization’s product or process to a standard of quality or industry best practice.
Quality management practices based on continuous efforts at improvement involving everyone at the company.
includes developing detailed staffing, procurement, and project controls plans. PMI calls this phase “organizing and preparing.”
A drawing that represents cause and effect to determine a quality problem
A form on which the user can track each time a problem occurs.
A type of frequency distribution chart.
Includes activities such as holding alignment and kickoff meetings, identifying the project team, developing the resources needed to develop the project plan, and identifying and acquiring the project management infrastructure. PMI calls this phase the “starting the project.”