Are Modern Working Practices Eliminating 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.

I recently heard from an executive who was concerned about how her company’s project management approach was evolving. The company had invested heavily in agile and had seen some great results in terms of better customer satisfaction, lower costs and shorter delivery times. It had also modernized its waterfall projects to provide teams with greater freedom to make changes to their projects if they felt it was needed to achieve their goals.

Finally, the company had recently become much more flexible in how it approached working environments—allowing a large portion of its workforce to work flexible hours from remote locations, and replacing traditional “cubicle farms” with more contemporary collaborative work spaces without a permanently assigned desk for each employee.

While the headline results from these changes were encouraging, this executive—who is in charge of a business area that delivered a lot of projects—felt that the overall quality of work had fallen and that was going to result in a big problem in the near future.

In exploring the matter further, it wasn’t the quality of products and services that she was concerned with, it was the quality of working practices, methods and environments. In other words, everything that happened in order to produce the product, service, etc. that represented each project’s …

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