The quality management approach presented in the PMBOK is intended to be compatible with other standards, including the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Total Quality Management (TQM), Six Sigma, and others.
Exam questions on this topic are frequently taken from sources other than the PMBOK. The table below identifies some of the more popular quality theories.
|Theory Name||Related Pioneers||Description|
|Continuous Improvement or Kaizen||Masaaki Imai, F.W. Taylor, and others||Processes are improved, mastered, and then further improvement is identified. Includes quality circles as a group-oriented means of developing ideas.|
|The Deming Cycle or Plan-Do-Check-Act||Dr. W. Edward Deming||Similar to Kaizen, an improvement is planned, completed, measured, and then further improvement acted upon.|
|Six Sigma||Based on statistical work by Joseph Juran||A statistical measure of quality equating to 3.4 defects per million items. If defects can be measured, a process can be put into place to eliminate them.|
|Total Quality Management (TQM)||Dr. W. Edward Deming||Fourteen points of management that call for awareness of quality in all processes.|
|Malcolm Baldrige Award||Howard Malcolm Baldrige||An award established by the U.S. Congress to promote quality awareness.|
|OPM3 (Organizational Project Management Maturity Model)||Project Management Institute (PMI)||Assess an organization’s project management maturity level against general best practices.|
|CMM (capability maturity model)||Software Engineering Institute (SEI)||Five levels of capability exist: initial, repeatable, defined, managed, and optimized.|
The Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) Cycle
PMI identifies the Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle, also referred to as the Deming Cycle, as both a quality tool and the underlying concept for interaction among project management processes. First, an improvement is planned. Next, the improvement is carried out and measured. The results are checked and finally acted upon. Acting upon the improvement might mean making the improvement a standard, further modification to the improvement, or abandoning the improvement.
Quality Approaches and Project Management
Quality approaches align with project management approaches in a number of areas, including achieving customer satisfaction, preventing defects instead of inspecting for them, management support for quality, and continuous improvement.
Some of the important things you need to know here are:
1. Customer Satisfaction - Customer requirements are met through a thorough understanding and management of expectations.
2. Prevention over inspection - It is cheaper to prevent defects than repair ones that are identified in inspections.
3. Management responsibility - Management must provide the support and resources for a quality program to be successful.
4. Continuous improvement - Processes are improved, mastered, and then further improvement is identified. Includes quality circles as a group-oriented means of developing ideas.
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The Cost of Quality
The cost of quality (COQ) is a term that refers to the cost to produce a product or service that meets requirements. Part of the cost is rework when requirements aren’t met. An effective quality program reduces cost from rework.
The three primary types of cost associated with the cost of quality are
• Prevention costs
• Inspection costs
• Failure costs (internal and external)
Addressing prevention and inspection can be viewed as addressing the cost of conformance. This includes training, prototyping, design reviews, and testing. Failure costs (the cost of nonconformance) includes bug fixes, rework, cost of late delivery, and customer complaints.
Difference Between Quality Planning, Quality Assurance, Quality Control
One area of confusion, especially among project managers without a background in quality, is the difference between the three processes in quality management.
The main difference lies in the fact that:
a. Quality Planning is used in the Planning Phase
b. Quality Assurance is used in the Project Execution Phase and
c. Quality Control is used in the Monitoring & Controlling phase
Control Charts and Other Tools
You’ll see the term control chart mentioned in several areas of the PMBOK. A control chart is simply a graph that depicts upper and lower control limits, upper and lower specification limits, and actual performance data collected from project activities. Upper and lower specification limits correspond to the requirements from the project contract. The upper and lower control limits are placed at points at which action must be taken to avoid exceeding the specification limits. If performance data exceeds the upper control limit the project manager can implement appropriate changes to bring the quality back in line before the upper specification limit is exceeded and the project is in violation of the contract. The graph makes it easy to see when actual performance exceeds the predefined upper or lower limits.
Control charts are not the only tools at your disposal. As a project manager you also have access to quality planning tools such as
• Brainstorming - Generally an open forum that includes knowledgeable people in appropriate disciplines and encourages free expression of ideas.
• Affinity diagrams - Diagram to help identify logical groupings based on similar attributes.
• Force field analysis - Visual depictions of forces that favor and oppose change.
• Nominal group techniques - Small brainstorming groups where output is reviewed by a larger group.
• Matrix diagrams - Multiple groups of information presented to show relationships between factors, causes, and objectives. Each intersection of a row and column describes a relationship between items placed in the row and in the column.
• Prioritization matrices - Provides a method of ranking sets of problems by importance.
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