Many organizational managers and business owners are continuing to debate on the best practices of managing projects. Some have been able to implement various protocols and regulations on the achievements of a certain project. Also, stakeholders and clients do believe that organizations that apply the best practices in project management ensure that they use the same metrics and methodology.
When it comes to project quality, you will realize that it’s a very difficult quality for someone to answer. However, the quality of the project can be regarded as the degree to which deliverable of the project reflects the expected results and best practices by stakeholders. Remember every project has its unique features and the best place you can start is by looking at the following practices.
1. Try To Identify Warning Signs
You should try to identify any signs which may indicate that your project may be doing well. Some of these signs may include:
• When the morale of the project team starts to decline.
• When you start to rely on unplanned overtime to meet deadlines during the early stages of your project.
• When you discover that some activities which you taught that you had already completed them, are still being worked on.
• When there is a small variance in the budget or schedule during the early stages of your project.
• When the service delivery starts to decline, for instance, your clients complain that their email folders are not working properly.
• In case you realize any of the above situations, you should approach the risk management tea to put a plan which can ensure your project works well.
2. Identify Risks Upfront
During the planning phase, the project team should be able to identify any risks that are known. They should be able to determine the probability of the risk occurring and any impact which may befall the project. All events which are regarded as high risk, the project team, must put specific plans in place to mitigate them so that they do not occur.
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Low-level risks can be regarded as assumptions, in that although there is a potential risk, you assume the positive outcome will outdo the negative issues. Medium level risks have to be evaluated to see if they can be managed proactively. You also know that there are inherent risks that everyone with a similar project is expected to face. Other risks one may face are:
• Not being familiar with all aspects of the technology involved in the project.
• Inadequate level of expertise.
• Challenges of integrating well with the existing equipment or products.
3. Manage Your Work Plan, Monitor The Budget And Schedule
After planning your project well, you can start executing it. Since you could have an agreement on the project definition; you could have put in place the project and management procedures, you will only remain with the challenge of executing your processes and plans correctly. What you must know is that no single project can be completed as it was planned and estimated.
To apply your project management skills proactively and correctly, you can do the following:
• Monitoring your budget- Based on the project which has already been done, you should try to review the amount of money you have already used to determine if you have overspent the original amount. Thus, you must raise a risk if you will exceed the original budget or work with the project team to determine how you will complete the remaining work within the original budget.
• Identify all the activities which have been completed and update your work plan that you have done them as expected. Determine any other activities which were supposed to be completed but are yet to be completed. After updating your work plan, you can determine, if you will be able to complete the remaining part with the original duration, cost, and effort.
• You should also review your work plan regularly, to determine the progress you should have made in terms of budget and schedule. In case you are doing a small project, you can do your review weekly, however, if the project is bigger, you can change the frequency to about two weeks.
• You should also know the lifecycle of your project and the completion criteria
4. You Must Define The Project Management Early
This procedure will outline all the resources which will be used in managing the entire project. This can include the project team will manage things such as communication, quality, risk scope change, and other issues. It’s good if you can ensure that all stakeholders and the project team know how the project is supposed to be managed.
Any time that you encounter variances in your project, the management should be able to know the correct actions that they should take to manage them. In many cases, they will be forced to compromise some things.
For instance, where your project exceeds the budget, they might be forced to lessen the scope.
Also, when the deliverables are taking longer to be completed, the stakeholders may be forced to do away with the deadline. Remember not all things that the project management team can do early.
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5. Plan Your Project By Using The Project Definition
By spending your time properly in managing the project, you will be able to reduce the duration and cost. The project definition is the main document that is used in the planning process and outlines all the aspects of the project. After the document has been approved by relevant stakeholders and customers, it will become the major basis for performing the work.
During the project definition, the following things should be included:
Overview of the project- involves the business drivers, benefits and reasons for conducting the exchange migration.
• Project Overview- summary of what you intend to achieve after doing the project.
• Objectives- outline of all the things that you wish to achieve.
• Scope- to what areas will your project cover.
• Risks and Assumptions- Outline the events which you will take for granted You must also explain if you have enough network capacity, storage, infrastructure, and hardware.
• Strategy- methodologies that you will apply as you carry out your project.
• Organization- Show any important roles of the project by revealing if the key stakeholders are represented, who are involved in the project team and the project manager.
• Duration, cost, and effort estimates- You can do this as estimates and you can revise them as you are doing the project.
• Signature Page- You should request your key stakeholders and sponsor to approve your document, thus indicating that they agree with what you are planning.
6. Outline The Escalation Process
Before they start working on your projects, they should have proper clarity and a clear understanding of everything that is involved.
Even if an issue starts from an individual member, you should be able to layout the process which should be following the escalating all issues until you get them solved. Remember the project will involve stakeholders such as users, clients, sponsors, managers, and team members, thus you can involve all of them in solving every issue. However, they should be able to know important things such as quality standards, goals and project deliverables.
Laying down well-defined ways of escalating and discussing issues will mean that you will minimize any conflicts that are likely to happen until the problem becomes bigger. The majority of projects fail due to communication breakdown. Thus you should make it easy for team members to not only talk to you but also other stakeholders. This can assist them in solving any issues which may arise without others realizing if those issues existed.
Remember if the team members know the people who are leading them are willing to assist them to find a solution, they will not hide anything that they may be struggling with.
7. Taking Steps In Making The Quality Of The Project Constant
You can achieve high quality when you can produce the outcomes and deliverables according to your specifications, plans, and needs. The demand for deliverable or process quality should be able to address the following major elements:
• Quality control- How you will be able to measure and manage quality as you continue with the project?
• Quality consensus- How will you apply, accept and approve quality definitions?
• Quality specifications- how can you define quality in the projects that you are doing?
• Management objectives- what things will you try to achieve by concentrating on quality management?
• Quality defect correction- How can you analyze, remove or mitigate quality defects?
For you to achieve any results that you are expected, you must define and state clear your quality expectations and requirements. As you proceed with your project you should be able to assess and manage quality to make sure you fully realize all your expectations and requirements. Quality control can take at various phases of the project by conducting many verification and validation techniques and activities. Such activities can include:
• Third-party quality audits
• Lessons learned reviews
• Pilot programs
• Automated reviews
• Manual reviews.
8. Quality Management Of Objectives And Goals
For you to be successful in doing your project at all levels including customer satisfaction, time, costs and results, you should ensure that quality management exceeds administrative costs. As revealed early quality objectives ad goals must be stated well during project definition and selection phases. Thus will involve the following things:
• Eliminating non-productive and costly re-work
• Minimizing costly errors and defects.
• Maximizing team productivity, performance, and morale.
• Maximizing satisfaction among your customers
• To produce results that are within the budgetary requirements, project scheduling and meets quality standards.
• Minimizing the subjective nature of quality by being able to define quality in measurable and clear terms.
9. Change Management
It’s normal for stakeholders to change their minds on what is supposed to be delivered by the end of the project. The sudden change of mind can be attributed to changes in the business environment especially after the project has started. Thus all the assumptions, which one could have made during the start of the project turn out to be null and void. This will also imply that the deliverables and scope of the project must be changed.
In case the project manager was to accept all new changes, the project might exceed the budget, be completed late than expected or may fail be to completed.
Through change management, the project stakeholders can make decisions if they are going to accept any changes immediately, in the future or they are going to reject them completely. This can increase the success of the project as the project manager can easily control how he/she will be able to incorporate the changes. Thus he/she can allocate enough resources and plan how and when changes can be effected. Remember one of the reasons why many projects fail is because the managers fail to manage any changes appropriately.
10. Write Down Lessons Learned
After completing your project, you should be able to write down all any lessons that you could have learned from the project that you have completed combined with other previous projects. Without a sense of judgment or self-censorship, you should be able to write down many of the challenges that you can remember that you faced as you carried out your project. In coming up with the challenges you should be able to tell the following:
• Things that did not work well.
• Things which were harder for you
• What you think you could have done better.
It’s a fact that many organizations or companies do face challenges in completing their projects. However, organizations that can complete their projects faster, cheaper and better can be regarded as the ones which are growing. This is because they have been able to apply the best practices of quality project management such as the ones which are highlighted above. Remember, the best practice of project management is one that can strike a balance in the planning phase, monitoring and supervising phase.