FacebookTwitterLinkedIn

PM4DEV Blog

Ideas, suggestions and general thoughts about project management for development.

Who defines Quality?

b2ap3_thumbnail_quality.jpgQuality in project management is defined as "the totality of characteristics of an entity that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs" (PMBoK). If the project deliverable (goods or services) are not able to meet the stated or implied needs of the beneficiaries, then the project did not meet its quality goal.

Project quality is ultimately defined by the beneficiary, and represents how close the project comes to meet the beneficiaries’ needs. The project manager’s goal is to understand the requirements and needs of the beneficiaries and then ensure the project will meet them

The purpose of quality management is to first understand the needs of the beneficiaries in terms of quality and then put a quality plan to meet those needs. Because quality is defined by the beneficiary, there may be some subjectivity in its definition. But there are methods to make quality more objective. One of these methods requires listing the specific characteristics of quality that are important to the beneficiaries. Then determine the metrics that the project will collect to measure the quality characteristics. 

From there the project manager will develop a quality management plan focused not only on product/service quality, but also the means to achieve it. Quality management is a process that includes quality planning, quality assurance and quality control to achieve more consistent quality.

Quality Planning.  A quality plan includes a clear definition of the goals of the project. This includes assessing the assumptions and risks to success, setting quality standards, documenting processes, and defining the methods and tests to achieve, control, predict and verify success. These activities should be in the project plan and assigned to the team who will report and track quality metrics and document the criteria by which the project deliverables will be accepted by the beneficiaries

Quality Assurance.  Quality assurance uses metrics to determine if the quality plan is proceeding as planned. With the use of qualitative and quantitative metrics, the project manager can measure project quality. The use of tests or quality audits helps predict and verify the achievement of goals and identify need for corrective actions.

Quality Control. Quality control is the review to ensure quality standards. This process includes identifying, analyzing, and correcting problems. Quality control monitors specific project outputs and identifies project risk factors.

It’s important that key stakeholders and beneficiaries are involved in this process, their participation in the quality management process ensures that the project will meet its quality goals. 

 

Rate this blog entry:
5
1716 Hits

What are the Soft Skills any Project Manager must have?

b2ap3_thumbnail_softskills_20140224-200339_1.pngDevelopment organizations appoint a project manager according to the depth of his or her technical skills. It is not unusual to find a good engineer being promoted to project manager just for his or her technical competence. While it is true that a good understanding of the technical aspects of a project is useful, project managers are also required to have good management skills, such as communicating, planning, negotiating, coaching, decision-making, and leadership. These skills are often overlooked at the time of hiring or appointing a project manager.

Many project managers are not able to successfully lead projects due to a deficiency of the necessary soft skills.

The job description for a project manager needs to be more explicit and describe the managerial skills and competencies required for the job. Organizations usually assign a project manager with the idea that all that is required is expertise in a technical area, often forgetting the need to have a project manager with the skills to lead a project team, coordinate the use of resources, communicate with stakeholders, and manage the project constraints.

In today’s projects, soft skills are becoming equally as important as technical or hard skills. To be an effective project manager today requires more and more, including a good understanding of general management. Projects are becoming more complex in their nature, and it is no longer possible for the project manager to remain a technical expert. Project managers need to spend more of their time planning, organizing, directing, and monitoring the project.

These are the most critical soft skills:

  • Leadership skills - They are essential for project managers, because project managers must influence the behavior of others to achieve the project objectives.
  • Communication skills - This skill enables a project manager to convey project information in a way that it is assimilated and understood by all project stakeholders, includes both verbal and non-verbal communication skills.
  • People skills -  Needed in development projects due to the large number of people interfacing with the project. Includes the ability to listen, be empathetic and motivate people.
Rate this blog entry:
4
1448 Hits
Go up