Defining Project Quality

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at andy.jordan@roffensian.com. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

What is project quality? Seriously. In terms of the projects you are working on right now, what is considered to be “quality”? You likely have an answer, but I’m betting it’s incomplete or inaccurate (or both). That’s not your fault; it’s the way projects are structured and executed today. In this article, I want to explore that concept a little further.

When a project is first approved, it will have clearly defined targets for when it needs to be completed (the schedule deadline), and how much effort and money can be spent delivering it (the budget). It will also have an initial set of features and functions that have to be included (the scope). These days, we understand that all of those elements are likely to evolve and shift during project execution as organizational needs change, as customer expectations become clearer, and as competitors advance their own products and services.

This expectation of change means that the triple constraint elements of schedule, budget and scope are always front of mind for project managers. We know that we have to manage the project to achieve them, and we also know they may be more flexible than they have been in the past.

That flexibility is caused by the need to achieve the fourth constraint that has become more important in recent years—the idea of delivering on benefit. That is, …

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