Over the course of this series of articles, we’ve gone over a whole bunch of project management areas, and now you are confident in dealing with project integrations, scope, time, and cost. In this final chapter of our mini-series, we dig into the last crucial aspect of any project that all of these other topics have been building up to: quality. Without considering the quality of the project, everything else falls apart. For most of the other aspects we’ve touched on, they can be handled individually and worked on very specifically. In the case of project quality, you need to be aware of all of these other areas, in order to infuse a high standard of quality into them.
This concept might need some clarification; project quality is not the quality of the idea behind the project or its feasibility. It’s an easy trap to fall into, to evaluate and criticize the initial seed that started the project, but in project management, you aren’t concerned with that aspect beyond understanding requirements to properly plan the work. The reasoning behind a project’s conception might not be completely made aware to you, and that’s okay. What you’re focused on is the planning and execution of the project. Project quality is concerned with how well you and your team are accomplishing project work, every step of the way. How thorough is your planning? How well has the team broken the work down? Is there a high-level estimate for how long the work will take, and if so, might there be a point when more resources are required? What kinds of costs might creep up over the course of the project? Is there buffer in time or cost that might be put towards scope changes? These questions, plus many more, may arise as you work on improving the project’s quality and addressing problem areas.
Maintaining project quality is all about change management. Projects are likely to change in various aspects at any given time. What you need to do in order to preserve project quality, is to address changes as they come up. You need to be able to take incoming changes and question whether they are necessary; as project manager, you know the hidden costs that change incurs: feature churn, context-switching, ramp up time. Some changes may be completely valid, but others may stem from pressure from stakeholders. To ensure project quality, you need to protect your project and your team. It’s no easy feat; quality requires constant monitoring and proactive thinking.
There is no easy, blanket formula that can be applied to any given project to achieve quality. Every project is different and so there will always have to be careful evaluation to deduce what areas are prone to issues and change. Using software like OneDesk, you can track everything in one place, which makes all of your project information in one handy spot. By keeping your data centralized, it’s just a matter of knowing what data you need to get insight into problem areas and knowing what resources will help you solve them. Like any other aspect of a project, you need to put the time and effort into planning. That is the only way to ensure that you and your team tackle the project with an eye towards quality of the processes that will get you to completion.