Quality Management in a Full-Speed World

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.

Quality has always been a difficult thing for PMs to deal with. We all want to deliver high-quality solutions, but for most of us, that is a relative concept rather than an absolute one.

Sure, there are industries where quality has to be the only relevant factor (construction, medicine, etc.), but for most of us, projects are always faced with a tradeoff. We have to decide whether the quality is “good enough” or whether we have to spend more money, delay the release and potentially cut features in order to improve quality. There aren’t many PMs who haven’t felt frustrated at some point because they have been pressured to release a solution that they felt wasn’t good enough.

Today, those challenges are getting worse. Many industries are being faced with a need to accelerate delivery, reducing the time from identification of an opportunity to delivery of a solution. If a company is not fast enough, customers will go elsewhere and may not return. And with the lifespan of products becoming shorter than ever, quality is less important as a differentiator than it has been in the past. That’s especially true for software-based products where quality can be “retrofitted” to the product after release.

So how do we as project managers ensure that quality isn’t compromised in the pursuit of speed? Is lower quality an …

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