TOPIC 3 PROJECT QUALITY ASSURANCE
Quality Assurance is a process to provide confirmation based on evidence to ensure to the donor, beneficiaries, organization management and other stakeholders that product meet needs, expectations, and other requirements. Planned and systematic activities implemented within the quality system that can be demonstrated to provide confidence that a product or service will fulfill requirements for quality.
Quality Assurance is a system for evaluating performance, service, of the quality of a product against system, standard or specified requirement for customers.
Planned activity or systematic approach to provide adequate confidence of product and service
Importance of quality assurance
It assures the existence and effectiveness of process and procedures tools, and safeguards are in place to make sure that the expected levels of quality will be reached to produce quality outputs.
1. It improves the experience of the client
For example: Throughout the software programming process, it may occur that the developers do not notice some problems on its interface. That‟s why there is the need for analysis.
As for dealing with a confusing menu, or for adjusting a button that should be working, the tests count on the function of going through everything that has been previously constructed. Such a strategy will guarantee that the program is functional and that it does not compromise the experience of the user.
2. It reduces costs
The reduction of costs occurs eliminating the need for double work at the development. After all, it will be necessary to allocate your team to correct the problems that have been found, taking the time that could be used for a new project or another application.
3. It finds improvement areas
When finalizing a project, the developers may come across a functionality that could be implemented on the program. It is important then that the team follows the areas that need improvement during the process of construction, either for optimizing the performance or for solving a bug.
4. It anticipates problems
Complementing the previous item, while keeping track of bugs and problems during the development, the tests allow the company to anticipate even bigger problems at a homologation stage, for instance.
Process of quality assurance
Quality Assurance methodology has a defined cycle called PDCA cycle or
Deming cycle. The phases of this cycle are:
Quality Assurance Process
These above steps are repeated to ensure that processes followed in the organization are evaluated and improved on a periodic basis. Let’s look into the above QA Process steps in detail –
1. Plan – Organization should plan and establish the process related objectives and determine the processes that are required to deliver a
high-Quality end product.
2. Do – Development and testing of Processes and also “do” changes in the processes
3. Check – Monitoring of processes, modify the processes, and check whether it meets the predetermined objectives
4. Act – A Quality Assurance tester should implement actions that are
necessary to achieve improvements in the processes
An organization must use Quality Assurance to ensure that the product is designed and implemented with correct procedures. This helps reduce problems and errors, in the final product.
Inputs to quality assurance performance
There are four inputs to the perform quality assurance process:
1. Project management plan.
It is actually the quality management plan portion that is of interest here as it describes how the process of perform quality assurance will be carried out. Also of interest here is the process improvement plan which details how the work is being performed and what actions might be taken to improve this performance and as such is a key input.
2. Quality metrics.
During the process plan quality these were defined describing how quality will be measured and may relate to any aspect of quality. One is important is that each quality metric must be measurable and so details of the amount and units for each metric must be clarified and so provides an objective means of measurement.
3. Quality control measurements.
These are an output from the perform quality control process, and consist of important documented measurements of quality levels and compliance.
These measurements are derived inspecting and reviewing all project deliverables to ensure they comply with specifications, as well as coming from potential areas to improve any aspect of the management of the project.
4. Work performance information.
As already stated, perform quality assurance is concerned with process improvement, and so work performance information is an important input as it will assist in identifying areas where process improvements are needed. This input
will also include information regarding areas with process improvements have worked. In summary, the purpose here is to fix poor process areas and it knowledge or possibly enhance successful process improvements.
Outputs from the perform quality assurance process
There are four outputs from the perform quality assurance process:
1. Change requests.
Since this process carries out analysis and evaluation then it is normal to expect that change requests would be a natural outcome of this process, and as such change requests is the main output. Most change requests from this process would be about procedural changes.
2. Project management plan updates.
As a result of this process the way in which the project is being managed is likely to change. Within the project management plan is the quality management plan and the process improvement plan and one or both of these two documents are highly likely to be updated.
3. Project document updates.
Changes to quality can impact just about any element of the project including budget, schedule, scope, risk, resources, ect. So therefore any particular knowledge area and their related plans may need to be updated as a result of performing this process.
4. Organizational process assets updates.
These consist of any assets which can be used for future projects and as such should be updated whenever such practices are implemented or indeed if any new information has been learned. These assets are a common inputs to many of the PMBOK processes, and therefore in the spirit of overall process improvement, it is important that the outputs of this process are fed back into the organizational portfolio of assets.
Tools and techniques for project quality assurance
Challenges facing quality assurance in a project
1. Too much theory
Organizations that are striving for perfection often go overboard. In an attempt to implement the “perfect” Quality Management System, they often focus more on theory than on putting theory into practice.
Lesson 1: The perfect QMS doesn‟t exist, but every QMS can and should be improved over time. When designing a QMS, make sure it is practical for the company. The theory is useless when you don‟t put it into practice. Focus on the theory, but focus even more on the implementation of that theory and the added value for your organization.
2. Too much documentation
Many organizations create way too many documents; sometimes even to such an extent that the documentation starts hindering the functioning of the Quality Management System. In such cases, employees can get lost in the documentation and they may lose interest in the QMS. As a result, the QMS will not yield the expected results.
Lesson 2: The objective of a QMS is not to create paperwork, but to formalize the right information (to be more efficient) at the right time. Make sure that your documentation supports the communication of information, proof of compliance (evidence of results achieved) and knowledge sharing and that it never hinders your daily operations.
3. Too many details
Organizations often want their documentation to include as many details as possible. Evidently, this takes time and resources and will result in a more difficult application of the documentation.
Lesson 3: Make sure that your documentation is compliant with all the laws and regulations and that it supports (and doesn‟t hinder) the different activities of your company. Some documents may require a high level of detail, others don‟t. It is up to you to choose the appropriate level of detail for your situation. Think lean: include all and only the most important information at the right time.
4. Too much rigidity
If your Quality Management System is too rigid and inflexible it will be difficult to improve when necessary. As a result, it may not guarantee the best results for the future.
Lesson 4: Customer requirements and organizations are constantly evolving. Therefore, Quality Management Systems must evolve as well. They must be improved over time to remain consistent with the changing circumstances of your business. This will improve your performance and enable you to seize new opportunities.
5. Not enough implication and communication
From time to time, a Quality Management System is only supported the Quality Manager(s). In such cases, colleagues often think that the QMS „belongs‟ to the people who created it and -as a consequence – they don‟t actively contribute to the quality system. Instead, they just „follow‟ the QMS
Lesson 5: Make sure your staff members clearly understand their role and responsibilities in the Quality Management System. Otherwise, they won‟t feel part of the system. You need the full support of your entire organization to get the desired results. It takes great leadership and communication skills to get the most from a QMS. If you inform your staff about successes and challenges it will serve as a
motivation, and if you share lessons learned it will start discussions that will prevent you from making the same mistakes again.
6. Not enough motivation
When organizations implement a QMS because of external factors only (e.g. a client demands a certified QMS, competitors have an advantage because they are certified and you are not), it will be hard to get the best results from your QMS.
Lesson 6: Top management and staff should be fully on board and intrinsically motivated to get the best results from your QMS. Everyone must feel responsible for the overall quality of the product(s) or service(s) you offer and everyone
should know his/her role in the QMS.
7. Not suitable enough
Sometimes a Quality Management System is „delivered‟ as a „ready to use‟ system. However, if a QMS is out of sync with the company‟s strategy and operations, it will be very difficult to get the results you want.
Lesson 7: Quality Management Systems such as ISO 9001 are based on the obligation of results but not on the obligation of how to reach them. It is up to the company to choose the way that suits them most, so set up your Quality
Management System in a way that fully supports your staff, processes and business.
8. Not enough attention to customers
We often see that companies are focused on quality but not so much on customer satisfaction.
Lesson 8: Without your customers, there is no business. Never forget that Quality
Management Systems such as ISO 9001 are based on customer satisfaction. The goal is to achieve and maintain customer confidence. Therefore, it is necessary to know your customers‟ requirements and expectations and to measure your
customers‟ satisfaction continuously
Quality Assurance and Improvement Program (QAIP)
Quality Assurance and Improvement Program (QAIP) is designed to provide reasonable assurance to the various stakeholders of the Internal Audit department that Internal Audit:
Performs its work in accordance with its Charter, which is consistent with
The Institute of Internal Auditors International Standards for the Professional Practice of Internal Auditing (Standards), Definition of Internal Auditing and Code of Ethics;
Operates in an effective and efficient manner; and
Is perceived stakeholders as adding value and improving Internal Audit‟s operations.