Five Steps to Quality Management of Your Project
By Michelle Symonds
Producing a high quality project depends on many factors, and maintaining control over quality whilst also sticking to timescales and budget is a challenge every project manager has to face. Knowing how to control the quality of your project from the outset is critical in achieving excellence, so with that in mind, these five steps will help you to produce high quality projects time after time.
- Step 1: Make a robust project plan
Before you start anything, you must implement a well thought out project plan. How you achieve this will depend on your own style of project management, but the key factor is to ensure you have included all deliverables, timescales and budgets in your project plan, and also built in some room for manoeuvre. Project plans are not static documents, and need to be refined and revised as the project opens out, so work to a cycle of Plan, Do, Check and Act to ensure your project plan is flexible.
Step 2: Develop appropriate communication
No matter how good your project plan was, or how rigorous your schedule, poor communication with stakeholders and other team members can easily be the downfall of a project. Develop regular and appropriate methods of communicating with everyone involved, and decide on how these are going to work before the project kicks off.
Step 3: Manage your stakeholders effectively
In order to manage your stakeholders well, you need to define who they are and how they are involved with the project. These may include sponsors, clients, managers, the general public and more. Define who they are and develop an understanding of what they need to know and when, and from this make sure you have a strategy in place to provide relevant and appropriate information as well as any opportunities for involvement in the project.
Step 4: Measure well, and measure often
It is critical to understand from the outset wheat the outcomes and outputs of your project will be, as well as how you will measure whether these have been delivered. Processes need to measure progress both qualitatively and quantitatively at regular intervals throughout the project, and need to work at the level of the whole project, the team and at individual level too. Good measurement helps identify issues early on, as well as successes which can be repeated throughout the project timeline.
Step 5: Review constantly and act on outcomes
Good project managers will carry out regular and timely reviews of progress, comparing this with their project plan, schedule and budget. The review process should allow for problems to be effectively flagged up, and offer opportunities for team members to learn and grow from the outcomes. All this measurement and review is only effective if appropriate action is taken swiftly, so use what you are learning through the review process to make changes, confront problems and refine your strategies to deliver consistently high quality work.
Use these five steps at the outset of your next project so you can enjoy delivering high quality results in a more manageable way. There are project management training courses in recognised methodologies such as APMP, PMP and PRINCE2 which deal in detail with quality within the project management environment.
Michelle Symonds is a qualified PRINCE2 Project Manager and believes that the right project management training can transform a good project manager into a great project manager and is essential for a successful outcome to any project.
There is a wide range of formal and informal training courses now available that include online learning and podcasts as well as more traditional classroom courses from organizations such as Parallel Project Training.