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PMP® Exam Quality Primer: Quality Concepts – Continuous Process Improvement (CPI)

PMP® Exam Quality Primer: Quality Concepts – Continuous Process Improvement (CPI) (#7 in the series PMP® Exam Quality Primer)
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

CPI is a concept that recognizes that the world is constantly changing and any process that is satisfactory today may not provide the same value tomorrow. CPI is a holistic approach that is applicable to projects because it supports quality goals by making gradual improvements in processes and sub-processes that tend to repeat themselves over several projects, or often within a project. The CPI procedure is as follows:

  1. Define and standardize (sub)processes: Document current understanding; maintain and update formal standards; measure performance against current standards.
  2. Assess (sub)process performance: Measure process; assess performance against goals and customer needs; select improvement targets.
  3. Improve (sub)processes: Use teams for shared processes; pursue individual improvement; follow improvement cycle (similar to the Deming Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle) of
    • Standardize
    • Do
    • Check
    • Act
  4. Measure progress: Measure performance against goals and standards; evaluate customer satisfaction, evaluate method and document results; continuously improve.
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PMP® Exam Quality Primer: Quality Concepts – SEI CMMI

PMP® Exam Quality Primer: Quality Concepts – SEI CMMI (#6 in the series PMP® Exam Quality Primer)
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

The SEI (Software Engineering Institute) at Carnegie Mellon University developed the CMM, also known as the SW-CMM (Capability Maturity Model for Software) to serve as a model for organizations to identify best practices useful in helping them increase the maturity of their processes.

The maturity levels that organizations seek range from 0, where the organization has incomplete processes and tasks are not repeatable, to a maturity level of 5, where organizations are optimizing their current processes and continuously seeking improvement. The capability levels are:

  1. Incomplete
  2. Performed
  3. Managed
  4. Defined
  5. Quantitatively managed
  6. Optimizing

About the Author

Samuel Brown, PMP, is a course developer and instructor for Global Knowledge with 25 years experience teaching. In addition, he has provided project management consulting services for a variety of clients including GE, Glaxo Smith-Klein, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Michelin Tire, and IBM. Read the Complete Article

PMP® Exam Quality Primer: Quality Concepts – Six Sigma

PMP® Exam Quality Primer: Quality Concepts – Six Sigma (#5 in the series PMP® Exam Quality Primer)
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

The Six Sigma name comes from the concept of standard deviation, a statistically derived value represented by the lower case Greek letter sigma: σ. The variations of processes and their output products are typically measured in the number of standard deviations from the mean. A good company typically operates between 3 and 4 sigma.

The central core of the Six Sigma concept is a six-step protocol for process improvement. These steps are as follows:

  1. Identify the product characteristics wanted by the customer.
  2. Classify the characteristics in terms of their criticality.
  3. Determine if the classified characteristics are controlled by part and/or process.
  4. Determine the maximum allowable tolerance for each classified characteristic.
  5. Determine the process variation for each classified characteristic.
  6. Change the design of the product, process, or both, to achieve Six Sigma process performance.
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PMP® Exam Quality Primer: Quality Concepts – ISO 9000

PMP® Exam Quality Primer: Quality Concepts – ISO 9000 (#4 in the series PMP® Exam Quality Primer)
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

ISO 9000 is an international quality standard for goods and services. ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization, which is a federation of standards bodies from nations around the world. ISO does not set specifications for quality but rather it sets broad requirements for the assurance of quality and for the involvement of management. As ISO has evolved over the years, it has become more closely aligned with the TQM (Total Quality Management) philosophy; however, it is not all encompassing. ISO is composed of three standards:

  1. ISO 9000: 2000 Quality management systems – Fundamentals and vocabulary
  2. ISO 9001: 2000 Quality management systems – Requirements
  3. ISO 9004: 2000 Quality management systems – Guidelines for performance improvements

About the Author

Samuel Brown, PMP, is a course developer and instructor for Global Knowledge with 25 years experience teaching. Read the Complete Article

PMP® Exam Quality Primer: The Quality Gurus – Philip B. Crosby

PMP® Exam Quality Primer: The Quality Gurus – Philip B. Crosby (#3 in the series PMP® Exam Quality Primer)
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

Crosby simply defines quality as conformance. He’s known best for his advocacy of zero defects management and prevention as opposed to a statistically acceptable level of quality. He is also known for his Quality Vaccine and Crosby’s Fourteen Steps to Quality Improvement.

Crosby’s Quality Vaccine

Crosby’s Quality Vaccine consists of three ingredients:

  1. Determination
  2. Education
  3. Implementation

Crosby’s Fourteen Steps to Quality Improvement

  1. Make it clear that management is committed to quality for the long term.
  2. Form cross-departmental quality teams.
  3. Identify where current and potential problems exist.
  4. Assess the cost of quality and explain how it is used as a management tool.
  5. Increase the quality awareness and personal commitment of all employees.
  6. Take immediate action to correct problems identified.
  7. Establish a zero defect program.
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PMP® Exam Quality Primer: The Quality Gurus – Joseph M. Juran

PMP® Exam Quality Primer: The Quality Gurus – Joseph M. Juran (#2 in the series PMP® Exam Quality Primer)
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

Joseph M. Juran

Joseph M. Juran ranks close to Deming in terms of significant contributions to the quality movement. Juran has been most recognized as the person who added the human dimension to quality, broadening it from its statistical origins. Juran is best known for his Three Basic Steps to Progress, his Ten Steps to Quality Improvement, and the Juran Trilogy.

Juran’s Three Basic Steps to Progress

The Three Basic Steps to Progress are broad steps that Juran feels companies must take if they are to achieve world-class quality. The Three Basic Steps are as follows:

  1. Achieve structured improvements on a continual basis with dedication and a sense of urgency.
  2. Establish an extensive training program.
  3. Establish commitment and leadership on the part of higher management.
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PMP® Exam Quality Primer: The Quality Gurus – W. Edward Deming

PMP® Exam Quality Primer: The Quality Gurus – W. Edward Deming (#1 in the series PMP® Exam Quality Primer)
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

Quality as we know it today is an accumulation of several concepts that together create a comprehensive approach to quality. The views of quality, as described in the PMBOK Guide® and tested on the PMP exam are focused primarily on three major contributors to quality: W. Edward Deming, Joseph M. Juran, and Philip B. Crosby. Though much of the knowledge necessary to pass the PMP exam is readily documented in the PMBOK Guide® and other study guides, it may be helpful to have a primer on the quality gurus and programs on which the quality concepts are based.

W. Edward Deming

Many consider Deming the father of quality. His contributions to quality management have been most influential, so much so that he is considered an internationally acclaimed expert. Read the Complete Article

Project Scope Control – Part 2: Change Management

Project Scope Control – Part 2: Change Management (#2 in the series Project Scope Control)
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

This article continues from the discussion of defining and setting boundaries for scope in Part 1.

Reliability of Change Management

The rationale for project change control is straightforward. Change control provides a mechanism for identifying change, the impacts of change on critical elements of the project and explicit decisions regarding the change. Project change control primarily focuses on change impacts to the scope, schedule, and cost of the project, but also includes attention to the related impacts a change may have on other areas of the project like quality, risk, communications, team, and contracts. The intent of project change control is to make sure that changes are beneficial, not to prevent change.

The natural starting point for any sort of control of changes begins with specific and clear definition of what is expected and agreed, which is why the Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a critical input to scope change control. Read the Complete Article

Project Scope Control – Part 1: Definition & Boundaries

Project Scope Control – Part 1: Definition & Boundaries (#1 in the series Project Scope Control)
By Samuel T. Brown, III, PMP, Global Knowledge Course Director and Instructor

Project scope is the fundamental for project planning and execution. Without clarity of scope projects encounter a myriad of difficulties including scope creep, lack of support, inability to satisfy customer needs, inability to reach conclusion, etc. The keys to controlling project scope rest on three foundational pillars of support: clarity of definition, precision of boundaries, and reliability of change management.

Clarity of Definition

Scope is defined in the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, Third Edition (PMBOK Guide®) as “the sum of the products, services, and results to be provided as a project.” The PMBOK Guide® also defines Project Scope Management as “the processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required to complete the project successfully.” The first step in controlling project scope is to establish clarity of definition, that is, to clearly describe what the project is supposed to accomplish. Read the Complete Article

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