Two Quality Management Philosophies to Adopt Now
There are a lot of interesting processes and techniques associated with quality management. Here are two that approach the level of a philosophy.
The term goldplating refers to delivering more quality than what the customer requested. Even though it might seem that this is a good thing, it is wrong for two reasons. First, the primary focus of the project should be to make sure that you deliver what the customer wants – on time and within budget. By adding in additional work (to overdeliver), you increase the risk that the project will not meet its deadline or budget. If you end up missing your deadline date, you will not find sympathy if you explain that the date was missed because of adding more work than the customer requested.
Second, if you goldplate, you are taking it upon yourself to make a business decision on what is of most value to the customer. There may be some good reasons why the quality level was defined by the customer. There may be more value in having the solution completed early and for less cost. The point is that this is a customer decision and not one that the project manager should make.
Goldplating does not mean you should not strive to be your best. Deliver early if you can. Deliver underbudget. Be extra-great in your customer service skills. Go over and above in your desire to help a colleague.
Make Sure Quality Management Focuses on Processes, Not People
The focus of quality management is to build the right processes so that the entire team can produce the deliverables that meet the customer’s expectations. Therefore, if a particular deliverable has a quality problem, the project manager and project team should focus on how the project work processes can be improved – not on trying to determine who is to blame.
Most problems with quality are the result of poor or inadequate work processes, not because of the malicious act of a particular person. In fact, it is thought that at least 80% of quality problems can be resolved by changing and strengthening business processes. Less than 20% of problems are under a team member’s control. Furthermore, the processes that your organization utilizes are largely determined by management. So, when workers or team members have quality problems, it is important for managers to identify the weak or broken processes involved and fix them. Of course, everyone can be responsible for their own work, but when there are problems, first check out the work processes that allowed the problem to occur.
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