Project Management

Prepare for 2009!

 

Preparing for the New Year – Welcome to 2009!

 

 

New Year’s is a time to reflect on the past year, look forward to the New Year and reflect on the changes you want to make. One of the most important things to remember is not to set you up for failure. Most people have a list of New Year’s resolutions. If you have too many resolutions, you will become overwhelmed by trying to do too many things at once. It takes 4-6 weeks for a person to integrate a new habit into their lives. A better solution is to pick your top 3-4 resolutions and plans. If you take them one at a time, you can get gratification for succeeding in implementing one before going on to the next.

The top 10 on most people’s list includes the following:

·         Spend more time with your family: No one (if they think about it before it’s too late) would want people to remember them as the person who was always at work, the person who had the most toys, or the person who once they retired, could not figure out what to do with their time! Hello! I would love to be in a situation where I could relax, travel, spend time with friends and family whenever I wanted. This is the time to rethink your priorities. When was the last time you took the family out for a hike in the woods or out for dinner?

·         Lose weight: This especially hits folks after gorging themselves during the holidays. Losing weight is a life style change and diets are the wrong approach to losing weight. The best thing to do is to eat small portions more frequently during the day to keep your blood sugar at a consistent level. Keep this up all throughout the year and you won’t need to add this to the list of resolutions next year!

·         Exercise: Look at the parking lot of any gym in January. You’ll find they are very crowded. Everyone knows that they feel better if they are exercising, but most people go overboard and then get frustrated when they don’t keep up with their plans. Keeping fit can be done anywhere! You don’t need to join a gym. Walking is free and one of the best ways to exercise. To start, take short walks during breaks and at lunch. Build up to have a total of 30-35 minutes a day walking at a pace where you pass most people up but can still keep a conversation going without huffing and puffing. After you get to this point, add some weight training. You can buy 5-10 lb weights and use them in a light to medium workout 10-15 minutes a day for a total of 50-60 minutes a week. Do this slowly so it becomes an enjoyable break, not a chore. Play some music. And remember; stretch before and after any workout. This makes all the difference in the world. You don’t want to be laid up with a pulled muscle!

·         Stop Smoking: I know how bad smoking is for you. I lost too many people to diseases caused by smoking, but since I’ve never smoked, I can’t say how hard this is from experience. I suggest consulting your doctor. It’s never too late to stop!

·         Relax and smell the roses: This is something I have to constantly remember. Relaxing isn’t something that comes naturally to me. Life is too short to ignore this one though. One thing that helps me is to meditate.

·         Stop drinking: This is something that you can’t do cold turkey. Taper off slowly or moderate your drinking.

·         Get out of debt: The economy is on everyone’s mind these days. Start by keeping track of what you spend during the day. It’s amazing how much money you can go through and not be able to say where it went at the end of the month. Once you have control over your day to day spending, start looking for ways to cut your budget. There are a lot of great blogs around that help with finances. One of my favorites is http://getrichslowly.org/blog/. They have advice on everything about money.

·         Learn something new: this is one I have no problems with. I love to learn. I read constantly. There are many avenues to treating yourself to a new learning experience. Look at your local community colleges. Lots of them have free or inexpensive classes on things from bird watching to photography.

·         Give back to the community: There are so many people out there that are less fortunate than you. Find out what you can do. If you don’t have extra money hanging around, give your time. It’s so valuable and you will come away from it with a good feeling.

·         Get organized: Go to the Container store or something similar and get those papers organized. You don’t have to keep receipts for years (unless it was a major purchase and you may need it for warranty or tax purposes). I keep my receipts in a folder with a section for each month. Same for bills. As you come to a month that is filled, empty the contents and throw them out. Scan receipts for major purchases and save them on your computer. You need to keep tax records for 7 years, but most of the paper we all save can be thrown out. Don’t let your magazines pile up. One of my problems is with books since I read so much. I heard a professional organizer say that if your bookshelf is full you can’t buy a new book unless you get rid of another book. Take them to Goodwill or to a used book store.

Have a Happy New Year!!

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December 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Project Quality Mangement

Project Quality Management is one of the most important processes in the Life Cycle to determine the project is on track. Tests performed during the quality process must map directly to a requirement. If not, the process needs to be re-examined. Quality processes include all the activities of the performing organization that determine quality policies, objectives, and responsibilities so that the project will satisfy the needs for which it was undertaken. It implements the quality management system through the policy, procedures, and processes of quality planning, quality assurance, and quality control, with continuous process improvement activities conducted throughout, as appropriate. Quality Management is often managed another manager and care has to be taken to make sure your project has the quality engineering resources required to do the job. That is one reason I am strict about making good relationships with everyone in the project team. This goes double when your resources are in a matrix organization and not reporting to you.

 

Quality Planning: identifying which quality standards are relevant to the project and determining how to satisfy them.

 

Perform Quality Assurance: applying the planned, systematic quality activities to ensure that the project employs all processes needed to meet requirements.

 

Perform Quality Control: monitoring specific project results to determine whether they comply with relevant quality standards and identifying ways to eliminate causes of unsatisfactory performance.

 

These processes interact with each other and with the processes in the other Knowledge Areas as well. Each process can involve effort from one or more people or groups of people based on the needs of the project. Each process occurs at least once in every project and occurs in one or more project phases, if the project is divided into phases. Although the processes are presented here as discrete elements with well-defined interfaces, in practice they may overlap and interact in ways not detailed here.

 

The basic approach to quality management described in this section is intended to be compatible with that of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). This generalized approach should also be compatible with proprietary approaches to quality management such as those recommended by Deming, Juran, Crosby and others, and non-proprietary approaches such as Total Quality Management (TQM), Six Sigma, Failure Mode and Effect Analysis, Design Reviews, Voice of the Customer, Cost of Quality (COQ), and Continuous Improvement.

 

Project Quality Management must address the management of the project and the product of the project. While Project Quality Management applies to all projects, regardless of the nature of their product, product quality measures and techniques are specific to the particular type of product produced by the project.

 

For example, quality management of software products entails different approaches and measures than nuclear power plants, while Project Quality Management approaches apply to both. In either case, failure to meet quality requirements in either dimension can have serious negative consequences for any or all of the project stakeholders. For example:

 

Meeting customer requirements by overworking the project team may produce negative consequences in the form of increased employee attrition, unfounded errors, or rework

Meeting project schedule objectives by rushing planned quality inspections  may produce negative consequences when errors go undetected.

Quality is “the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfill requirements”. Stated and implied needs are the inputs to developing project requirements. A critical element of quality management in the project context is to turn stakeholder needs, wants, and expectations into requirements through Stakeholder Analysis, performed during Project Scope Management.

 

Quality and grade are not the same. Grade is a category assigned to products or services having the same functional use but different technical characteristics. Low quality is always a problem; low grade may not be. For example, a software product can be of high quality (no obvious defects, readable manual) and low grade (a limited number of features), or of low quality (many defects, poorly organized user documentation) and high grade (numerous features). The project manager and the project management team are responsible for determining and delivering the required levels of both quality and grade.

 

Precision and accuracy are not equivalent. Precision is consistency that the value of repeated measurements are clustered and have little scatter. Accuracy is correctness that the measured value is very close to the true value. Precise measurements are not necessarily accurate. A very accurate measurement is not necessarily precise. The project management team must determine how much accuracy/precision or both are required.

 

Customer satisfaction: Understanding, evaluating, defining, and managing expectations so that customer requirements are met. This requires a combination of conformance to requirements (the project must produce what it said it would produce) and fitness for use (the product or service must satisfy real needs).

Prevention over inspection: The cost of preventing mistakes is generally a lot less than the cost of correcting them, as revealed by inspection. It is said that the cost of a bug rises exponentially as the project reaches completion. Think of how much more a problem costs if it reaches the field and a new release has to be manufactured to fix it. This not only costs in the obvious dollars but also in the reputation of the firm delivering the product, especially in shops that run 24*7.

Management responsibility: Success requires the participation of all members of the team, but it remains the responsibility of management to provide the resources needed to succeed.

Continuous improvement: The plan-do-check-act cycle is the basis for quality improvement (as defined by Shewhart and modified by Deming, in the ASQ Handbook, pages 13–14, American Society for Quality, 1999). In addition, quality improvement initiatives undertaken by the performing organization, such as TQM and Six Sigma, can improve the quality of the project’s management as well as the quality of the project’s product. Process improvement models include Malcolm Baldrige, CMM®, and CMMISM.

The cost of quality refers to the total cost of all efforts related to quality.

Project decisions can impact operational costs of quality as a result of product returns, warranty claims, and recall campaigns. However, the temporary nature of the project means that investments in product quality improvement, especially defect prevention and appraisal, can often be borne by the acquiring organization, rather than the project, since the project may not last long enough to reap the rewards.

Cost-Benefit Analysis: Quality planning must consider cost-benefits tradeoffs. The primary benefit of meeting quality requirements is less rework, which means higher productivity, lower costs, and increased stakeholder satisfaction. The primary cost of meeting quality requirements is the expense associated with Project Quality Management activities.

Benchmarking:

Benchmarking involves comparing actual or planned project practices to those of other projects to generate ideas for improvement and to provide a basis by which to measure performance. These other projects can be within the performing organization or outside of it, and can be within the same or in another application area.

Design of Experiments:

Design of experiments (DOE) is a statistical method that helps identify which factors may influence specific variables of a product or process under development or in production. It also plays a role in the optimization of products or processes. Think of the scientific method.

An example is where an organization can use DOE to reduce the sensitivity of product performance to sources of variations caused by environmental or manufacturing differences. The most important aspect of this technique is that it provides a statistical framework for systematically changing all of the important factors, instead of changing the factors one at a time. The analysis of the experimental data should provide the optimal conditions for the product or process, highlighting the factors that influence the results, and revealing the presence of interactions and synergisms among the factors. For example, automotive designers use this technique to determine which combination of suspension and tires will produce the most desirable results in the time given.

Cost of Quality (COQ):

Quality costs are the total costs incurred by investment in preventing nonconformance to requirements, appraising the product or service for conformance to requirements, and failing to meet requirements (rework). Failure costs are often categorized into internal and external. Failure costs are also called cost of poor quality.

Additional Quality Planning Tools

Other quality planning tools are also often used to help better define the situation and help plan effective quality management activities. These include brainstorming, affinity diagrams, force field analysis, nominal group techniques, matrix diagrams, flowcharts, and prioritization matrices.

 

As you can see quality is a main component of customer satisfaction and to the bottom line. A bug found early can save a company millions of dollars!

 

[1] ©2005 Project Management Institute, Four Campus Boulevard, Newtown Square, PA 19073-3299 USA 5

October 21, 2008 Posted by | quality management, Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments