Like it or not, another role that the Project Manager must play is that of the Quality Manager. The PM may not end up as the primary individual assessing quality on the project, but quality oversight and assurance that the project meets certain quality targets is definitely within the scope of responsibility for the project manager.
Jason Charvat’s book “Project Management Nation” touches on this in a subsection called “Managing Quality.” Please read on for Mr. Charvat’s view of the PM’s role in the quality management process.
For the project manager, quality management is all about ensuring that everything that is done or produced fits the purpose for which it is being done or produced. There are two main facets to quality management: (1) quality assurance (QA) and (2) quality control. In order to perform testing effectively in a software development effort, the QA manager needs to determine ways to show progression and improvement of the process and of the deliverable product. Measuring the effectiveness of testing serves the following purposes:
- Evaluates the performance of testing to uncover defects
- Quantifies the quality of the program/application process
- Provides a confidence factor to predict potential occurrences of errors once the system is released
- Provides data for potential improvement opportunities
- Justifies the expenses of the unit/resources to contribute to the end product’s usefulness
The post-implementation review process provides a structure for identifying opportunities for continual improvement. It assesses the results of a release or of an entire system. The QA manager is often responsible for developing indicators for the review. The intent is to develop a picture of what was successful in the process of development and testing and what might be improved. Indicators are agreed upon in advance during system development and are documented in a template.
Updating Project Documentation
It is important that, throughout the project’s life cycle, project managers update and distribute all new approved changes to the existing project documentation in order to reflect any changes to the project plans or schedule. A distribution list developed during the initiation phase should detail the recipients, communication methods, and number of copies required.
Conducting Quality Inspections
Project managers should obtain feedback from the project owner, stakeholders, or both to determine that their quality requirements are being met. He or she should make sure that the project team members report compliance or noncompliance to the quality plan, specifications, and procedures. Throughout the project’s life cycle, the project manager should generate reports that are related to quality issues and performance, as well as perform periodic quality audits. He or she should record lessons learned that address any quality issues or problems encountered in the project and the associated resolutions.
QA involves all planning, design, work, and procedures necessary to ensure that quality is achieved—in other words, to ensure that what is done or produced is fit for its purpose. Hence, QA can be thought of as activity that takes place before any work is done.
Quality control is the inspection of finished products to ensure that they meet required standards or are fit for their purpose. Where products fail, remedial action is taken. Thus, quality control is normally considered something that goes on after the work has been done. It makes no sense at all to keep on doing things wrong in the hope that mistakes will be picked up and rectified in quality control.