Employees are not always aware of the impact they have on the quality of the products or services provided by their organizations. This can create a knowledge vacuum, which can put your company at risk in ways that may not be obvious to everyone.
Through company policy, procedural documentation, regular company and team meetings, and news bulletins, executives and project management professionals can—and should—communicate to all employees their role and contributions to quality, and the impact they have within the five vital areas outlined below.
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The quality of all deliverables should meet the agreed-to requirements set out at the beginning of the project. All too often project managers, their teams, sponsors, executives, and core stakeholders are privy to this information, yet other employees who have an impact on quality are unaware of the detailed requirements.
In the haste to complete a project, all of the details about quality requirements and expectations does not always reach employees on the frontline who create or deliver the finished products or services. Expectations around quality and specifications should filter down to all employees in a timely way and, by doing so, organizations stand a greater chance of fully meeting stakeholder expectations.
Within some industries quality is not just about expectation and client requirements, but rather, is related to safety and regulatory standards. Regulations are typically put in place to protect the public and keep them from harm. Under these circumstances, there may be stringent regulatory requirements imposed on the quality of products or services. Once again, all employees should have a clear understanding and awareness of their role in this and the expectations a company places on their performance in this regard.
In this situation, it is necessary to also be transparent about all of the potential risks if quality standards are not met. If employees recognize that there are legal and safety concerns, potentially including risk of harm to others, it creates a sense of urgency and keeps employees focused and accountable for elevating the quality of their deliverables.
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3. Resource utilization
Most project teams and employees would rather do a job right the first time instead of revising, reworking and redelivering a job. It is far more efficient, and since valuable resources are often in short supply, it only makes sense that organizations focus on getting the quality of their products and services right the first time. The old adage "measure twice, cut once," can save organizations a significant amount of time and resources.
This is where resource allocation and utilization become vital. Make sure to deploy the best resources to each task to avoid costly rework later.
4. Reputation management
Odds are, if your organization has not paid attention to requirements, regulations, or effective resource allocation and utilization, your reputation and brand is already at risk. Many organizations suffer in this way, so finding a way to rebound is important. Once in this position, your organization may have a difficult time convincing previous or potential customers to have faith in your brand. Make sure that all employees, not just mid-level management, understand how devastating poor quality can be on your organization's reputation.
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5. Recurring revenue
Bottom-line: If quality is not a top priority in your organization, it will undoubtedly reduce recurring revenue streams and place future sustainability at risk. Executives, most middle management, and portfolio, program, and project managers likely possess this knowledge. However, without sharing the potential impact with all employees, it puts your organization unnecessarily at risk. By making quality a top priority throughout your entire organization, the risk to reputation and the bottom line can be avoided.
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Moira Alexander is the Founder of PMWorld 360 Magazine and Lead-Her-Ship Group, and a project management and digital workplace columnist for various publications. Moira has 20+ years in business (IS&T) and project management for small to large businesses in the US and Canada. To find out more about Moira, go to www.pmworld360.com and www.leadhershipgroup.com.