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Topics: Quality
How to cultivate "quality-culture" in Product Development projects/firms??
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Project managers in product development projects frequently face quality issues in various phases of the project. Quality issues although, involve technical aspects most of the time but do have managerial impacts like time, cost and motivation too at times. Is there any step-wise approach that can help cultivating quality culture and thus, ease out project manager's life.
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Do yo have "definition" of quality in your product development? And are there steps in quality measurement rather than at the end of development? If the measurement output is clear and obvious than each project member will know straight away whether the "quality" is on track, and if any corrective action is needed.
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Quality culture can be built by adopting & nurturing quality in all work/design processes. Its simple and hard to practice given the pressure of realising the product.
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Muhammad -

What is needed is organizational quality culture but that requires top-level leadership commitment and follow through as Deming frequently highlighted. Otherwise the good quality intentions of any one PM will optimize a part but potentially sub-optimize the whole.

Kiron
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Probably a set of processes, procedures and guidelines can be adopted based on Organizational Quality policies and Generic Standards. It needs senior management buy-in. Quality Management Plan could be mandated for projects and implemented. This should be tied to the scope, time, cost and risk management plans. The quality objectives and measures should be SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time based. Educating stakeholders and resources about the importance of Quality and understanding the impacts of poor quality and making everyone responsible for following newly derived policies and standards could help build in the culture.
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A long, long time ago, when I was a product development manager, I was able to convince the owner the importance of quality vs profit. I was able to convince him the downside of choosing lower quality items in our line of products in terms of our reputation, service and warranty costs, etc. In fact, I just saw a system a few days ago while in Montreal that we had designed and built over twenty years ago - still in service.
Also, I had the distinct pleasure of working with a world class organization - Mercedes-Benz. During the initial testing/ trial phase of the project, we had identified over 150 design issues with their vehicle. They acknowledged each and every one of the design issues, and incorporated the changes without issue. Their quality culture came straight from the top.
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The only way to deal with it is to understand that quality is a strategic matter. It must be defined at strategical level. That will create the organizational culture thru quality. To define quality other strategical terms must be defined first: "client" and "value". With all that on hand the organization must not forget that quality implies to define grade too. The mix of both must be into each product definition.

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