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Quality Management: Keep Your Projects From Going South

written by: Jean Scheid • edited by: Michele McDonough • updated: 4/23/2013

If you don't practice good quality management skills, your project could go south. Effective project management means following a process, staying on track, and working with your teams to a successful outcome. Use these tips to maintain quality in your projects.

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    Aspects of Quality

    Quality Management comprises three main components: quality control, quality assurance, and quality improvement. For your project to be effective and demonstrate quality you, as a project manager, must be able to control it to keep it from going south. Good quality management skills include using all your project management skills for an effective outcome.

    Often, project managers can get sidetracked by neglecting to follow processes, change controls, or monitoring their projects. This is where quality management can help. By utilizing good time lines, scheduling, developing good teams, and sharpening communication skills, your project will stay on track. Failing to implement these along with other basics can deter your project.

    Consider all of these and use them as a guide:

    • Framework - What are the fundamentals of your project?
    • Scheduling - Outline each task; who will complete the tasks and set due dates for each task?
    • Project Scope - Define your project and write a good scope statement.
    • Resources - Choose the right resources for your project by building good teams.
    • Communication - What will be your communication plan?
    • Change Management - Implement change management into your project so your project doesn't go south when changes occur.
    • Review - Review your project upon completion. Look at strengths and weaknesses. Implement changes where needed for future projects.

    Even if you utilize these guideposts, what if things do occur that aren't anticipated?

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    Stay on Track

    South Pole by BlMellott First off, if you constantly find your projects are off-track, consider taking a seminar like, Fundamentals of Effective Project Management, offered by National Seminars Training. This two-day seminar is specifically designed to help keep projects under control and where you want them to be. (This is not a free seminar.)

    There are other tools you can implement within your projects to keep them on track:

    Can You Take a Detour? - Realize there will be detours and learn how to adapt to those detours. Take the unexpected and turn it into a positive.

    Who's Fault Is It? - You may have hand-chosen your team at the start, but if a team member is failing, consider a change. Project managers must utilize their best resources, even if that means replacing them when tasks are left behind.

    Are You Really Looking? - How well are you really monitoring your project? This is the one of the biggest reasons your project can falter. If you find something wrong, go back to your project scope and implement some changes. Really analyze and look at your project's time line and completion rate.

    Did You Get What You Want? - If you aren't satisfied with your project, determine why. Measure the failure against successes you've had. Define what went wrong and make immediate plans to change for future projects.

    Should You Throw In the Towel? - Experts say if the client isn't happy throughout the project, he probably won't be happy with the outcome. If this is your project, before you throw in the towel, consider changing your resources or outsourcing to help you make the client happy.

    Using good project management skills will keep your project afloat, but what are the top ten skills?

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    Top Ten Project Manager Skills

    To stay on top of your projects, consider becoming certified in project management. In the meantime, use these top ten project management skills to keep your projects alive and well:

    1. Collaborate - Good colleague collaboration is a good thing. Network when you can.
    2. Supervise your team - Stay on top of your team. That includes praise and recognition.
    3. Stakeholders - Listen to your client and make sure you both understand the project's goals.
    4. Oversee - Implement good monitoring into your projects to keep them on track.
    5. Communicate - If you can communicate with the client and your team effectively, you'll be successful.
    6. Listen - On the other hand, if you don't listen to your client or your team, your project may fail.
    7. Learn - Learn from mistakes and change them. Allow your team room to grow as well by offering tools to help them grow.
    8. Control - Learn and use change control and implement change management skills into your project.
    9. Facilitate - Be a good facilitator or assign one or more when needed. Facilitators can be gold in keeping the project flowing.
    10. Anticipate - Anticipate change or failed tasks and embrace them as a chance to learn.

    To stay on top of your projects, read A Summary of PMBOK Practices - Quality Management, by Rhonda Levine.