Managing quality during a software development project can be difficult and time consuming when you have been misinformed about true quality indicators and practices. Actively managing quality on an agile project can be both simpler and harder than traditional approaches. Here are some basic practices to save time and unnecessary rework--and improve stakeholder satisfaction before and after delivery.
Question: This is a small company and I’m very lucky. Rather than just having a project dumped on me, my boss typically describes what he is thinking about doing and he asks my opinion. The problem is that I don’t know how to evaluate his project ideas quickly and I don’t want to give him wrong advice. How can I hold a meaningful conversation without looking stupid?
Ask to take the idea back to your desk for a week or so. There you can confer with other employees and do additional research on his idea before you give him your response.
The Ilities are the group of mythical Greek women who protected Homer and saw to it that he won every battle. Use the story of the Greek heroes, who found courage by relying on the idea of protectors backing them to mentally allow you to gain the confidence to discuss the project ideas.
The responsibility for choosing projects belongs solely with your boss. Tell him that you are flattered that he has asked your opinion, but you feel that your role is just to fulfill the project requirements he sends to you in writing.
There is a list of quality checkpoints called the “Ilities”. They are also useful when evaluating a project at conception to see if it is worthwhile to pursue, or if it should be dropped.
Working on the program level, quality management becomes complex because of differing elements being measured and differing criteria. A Program Management Plan with a quality management section can fit the bill. In the concluding installment, we look at how you can guide this complexity.
"Quality" is one of the most heavily used words in advertising and management. Like any popular concept, quality is in danger of losing its distinct contribution due to overuse. In the world of project management, robust quality management has a vital role to play. Let’s consider a few of the recent advances in the art and science of quality management...
Sustaining support from resource groups can hinder a project manager's ability to deal with risks and contingencies. How do we dramatically improve the quality of our project execution? In a new book, an author offers help in the form of the quality function deployment (QFD) matrix.
For the project manager, the multiple layers of organizational quality management can create challenges. They face a steep uphill battle managing project quality in organizations lacking quality assurance practices. Here's some help.
Working on the program level, quality management becomes complex because of differing elements being measured and differing criteria. A program management plan with a quality management section can fit the bill.
In a typical software development project, gathering and managing requirements is a common process. But what about IT infrastructure projects? Do they have specific requirements beyond the architecture diagram? Here are five lessons learned from an infrastructure project that struggled with missed requirements.
Quality takes time, effort and hard work to realize. So what does that mean for project managers? Does it mean we need to be investing even more in our project management processes? Do we need to be learning arcane techniques for statistical process control and total quality management? Do we really need that Sigma Six black belt after all? Not necessarily.
How do we define quality as a project manager? Is it managing a project really well, or managing a successful project? How about managing a successful project really well? That sounds pretty good. However, it poses the next question: What is a successful project? Let’s look at some examples of project success, failure and ambiguity.
For PMs working in IT application development projects, which resource is the most important (other than people, of course)? For many it is a Technical Quality Assurance model that supports highly repeatable test cycles.
What does quality project management mean? What does it look like? Can all project management be measured using the same metrics? What might those metrics be? Here's some help with the designing of meaningful metrics for measuring the quality of your organization’s project management process.
Projects usually have some form of quality standards for the product that they are expected to deliver--but when it comes to how the projects are delivered, it’s often a standards-free zone. But the quality of execution is a result of the parameters that are in the triple constraint.
Many project managers are not required to build a quality management section into their project plans. PMI knows that and sometimes exploits the lack of practical experience during the CAPM-PMP exam. This article continues the theme of comparing getting physically fit with getting ready for the certification exam.
What are your big goals? Productivity? Speed? Happiness? All of these are understandably desirable. They also share another attribute: They all are best achieved by seeking other, lesser goals rather than by seeking them directly.
Question: We have a massive internal change coming, and lucky me…I get to head the project! We have tried this before and had to pull back because of negative employee reactions. I know that this time we need some change management processes, too, but who is responsible to do that part of the project?
The good news is, it’s you. You need to take the responsibility and coordinate the change processes in with your usual team activities.
The good news is, it’s not you. Focus on the project and on meeting your metrics of time, cost and quality as usual. Corporate management is responsible to make sure employees accept and use these new changes.
The PMO is “where the buck stops” when endeavors move from simple projects to create products or software and billow out to vague objectives like “employee acceptance” and “corporate compliance”..
Ask your manager. Your project charter is limited to producing the usual product or services and your team is not skilled or experienced in change management processes. Your manager can deal with getting the changes accepted and getting them to stick.
Question: I’m so confused. I was a Quality Tester at my last job, but here the employees seem to use the titles Quality Assurance, Quality Control and Testing interchangeably. I started out in a more traditional organization, but now I’m a tried and true agile believer. Since I have no job description, what are my responsibilities?
The three concepts are often used interchangeably. Ask what it means in your new organization and accept that as your role in your workplace reality despite the real definition.
Find the specific meanings for each term from a university professor in the town where you work. Use that information to correct the organization so that they use proper terminology.
Once you learn your job description from Human Resources, create a new title for yourself so that others can understand what you do. Perhaps Defect Engineer would be apt.
Since agile teams work without formal processes or documentation, there is no need to answer to a particular title. Everyone on the team is merely a team member.
If an organization is engaged in project work on a continual basis, a project management office may be the best investment in securing successful projects. What are the benefits of having a PMO versus just having project managers?
There are hundreds of different methods to organize your never-ending project management “to do” list--and they are not all created equal. Whether the list is a page long or hundreds of rows in a project schedule, you need to have a good and efficient way of organizing your tasks.
Just having bodies in seats is not enough for success; it needs to be the right bodies at the right time. When a project involves a consultant, it is important to evaluate the resource and not take their resume or proposal at face value.
If your project involves external resources in any capacity, then you are dealing with one or more outsourcing arrangements. This article gives some strategies for mitigating common obstacles for managing outsourced projects.
by Kevin Aguanno, PMP, MAPM, IPMA-B, Cert.APM, CSM, CSP
When one PM was asked to list the key requirements for a PMIS that would enable it to better support project and organizational effectiveness, he thought about past project, portfolio and program management experiences. The result? A “dream list” of features for a PMIS to support large, traditionally managed projects...a list that was surprisingly agile.
The software development industry has migrated more and more to a virtual, telecommuting industry. But recent headlines have solidified the battle lines regarding virtual teams. Are they good or bad for employee morale and productivity?
Why would you not always do as much planning as possible before starting a project? Could it actually be harmful? It all depends on the quality of that input data--when the input data is good, we can reliably plan; when the input data is bad, then we need to get better data and keep evolving the plans.
Quality Management is a difficult knowledge area for people to connect with as they study for the PMP exam. Sadly, PMI also recognizes the weakness and includes plenty of questions to test your abilities.
Is "consultant" a dirty word? Many consultants get a bad name from the fact that they become indistinguishable from the organizational employees that they work alongside. How do you know that hiring a consultant is a good idea?
"Man is the only animal that blushes. Or needs to."