~ By Michael L Young
Commentators have differing views on what constitutes a quality project. The generally agreed parameters are that it delivers the desired outcomes on time and within budget. Through our long experience, the Transformed team has identified 6 key factors that improve project quality:
The Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle is fundamental to achieving project quality. The overall project plan should include a plan for how the project manager and team will maintain quality standards throughout the project's cycle.
Despite good project planning and scheduling, poor or absent communication with team members and stakeholders can bring a project undone. Project managers need excellent communication skills and a comprehensive scheme that encourages formal and informal discussion of expectations, innovation, progress and results.
Stakeholders include everyone who has an interest in, can influence or is affected by the project's implementation or outcomes. To engage stakeholders, identify who they are, analyse their concerns and what they need to know and then prepare a strategy to provide the appropriate amount of information and opportunities for involvement.
Early in the process it is important to identify the key outcomes and outputs of the project and how you will measure whether they have been delivered. Implement processes that measure progress, both qualitatively and quantitatively, throughout the project at individual, team and whole project levels. This ensures that problems can be identified early and successful tactics can be promulgated throughout the project.
Along with good measurement go good review mechanisms. Successful project managers diligently and regularly review progress against the schedule, budget and quality elements of the project. Regular review allows problems to be identified early so that corrective action can be taken to keep the project on track. Review also helps team members to learn and improve their skills.
Measurement and review are important, but they are only effective if the project manager takes action on issues identified. Leaving problems to be fixed up later is a recipe for disaster. Simple issues should be addressed immediately. More complex issues should be added for action into the project plan and resources allocated to address them.
Michael Young is Principal Consultant with 'Transformed' - Project Management Unleashed. Contact Transformed for information and assistance in conducting stakeholder analysis.