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Advances in Project Management: The Best Practices of Managing Quality in Projects

SERIES ARTICLE

By Ron Basu, PhD 

UK
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WHY PROJECT QUALITY?

We all agree and accept that as an end user of a product or service we would like it ‘as it says in the tin’, when we want it and at good value for money. Being in a competitive world of consumer choice we also expect it to last. This is the domain of operations, services and supply chain management. And we define it as ‘quality is the consistent conformance to customer experience’ (Basu, 2011). However in the field of project management the importance of quality is not so clear cut. Project managers appear to accept the ‘iron triangle of cost, time and quality’ (Atkinson, 1999) but focus more on ‘on time and budget’ delivery as the success criteria. Quality in projects is mostly relegated to a ‘lip service’ and to several documents with ‘ticking boxes’. As a consequence we find many examples of projects ( such as Wembley Stadium, Millenium Dome, West Coast Rail Upgrade) which were delivered on time and within budget but failed to meet the expectations of end users. Therefore we need to ask ‘how diligent are we in terms of project processes to deliver project objectives’? This is the minimum requirement of ‘what it says in the tin’. Furthermore we should also investigate ‘how good is our project management … as a vehicle for delivering the longer term outcomes and benefits as required by the sponsors and end users’.

FILL THE GAP OF THE ‘IRON TRIANGLE’

There appears to be a knowledge gap in the environment of project management related to the benefits achieved by quality management in comparison to the manufacturing and service operations. The publication of the book (Basu, 2012) is an attempt that sets out to investigate the impact of all aspects of quality in project management. The author’s investigation focuses initially on defining the dimensions of quality in project management and identifying sources of measurement for project excellence. He expands to discuss which tools can be used in the quest for project excellence; and the factors and processes critical to project success and maturity. The text also explores how the successes of supply chain management, Lean Thinking and Six Sigma may be gainfully deployed. In this book, an extensive review of the publications written about managing quality in projects and bodies of knowledge (e.g. PMBOK, PRINCE2) was underpinned by field research and two contemporary case studies (viz. Heathrow Terminal 5 and High Speed 1). A structured implementation of project quality, by those directly involved in project delivery and the project stakeholders for achieving a sustainable outcome of the project is also a valuable contribution of this book.

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About the Author

Ron-Basuflag-ukRon Basu, PhD 

Dr Ron Basu is Director of Performance Excellence Limited and a Visiting Fellow at Henley Business School, England . He is also a Visiting Professor at SKEMA Business School, France. He specialises in Operational Excellence and Supply Chain Management and has research interests in Performance Management and Project Management. Previously he held senior management roles in blue-chip companies like GSK, GlaxoWellcome and Unilever and led global initiatives and projects in Six Sigma, ERP/MRPII, Supply Chain Re-engineering and Total Productive Maintenance. Prior to this he worked as Management Consultant with A.T. Kearney.

He is the co-author of ‘Total Manufacturing Solutions’ , ‘Quality Beyond Six Sigma’, ‘Total Operations Solutions’ and ‘Total Supply Chain Management’ and the author of books with titles Measuring e-Business Performance , ‘Implementing Quality’ , ‘Implementing Six Sigma and Lean’ , ‘FIT SIGMA’ , ‘Managing Project Supply Chains’ and ‘Managing Project Quality’ . He has authored a number of papers in the operational excellence and project management fields. He is a regular presenter of papers in global seminars on Project Management, Six Sigma, Manufacturing, and Supply Chain topics.

 

After graduating in Manufacturing Engineering from UMIST, Manchester, Ron obtained an MSc in Operational Research from StrathclydeUniversity, Glasgow. He has also completed a PhD at ReadingUniversity. He is a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the Institute of Business Consultancy, the Association for Project Management, and the Chartered Quality Institute. He is also the winner of APM Project Management Award.

Ron lives with his wife Moira in Gerrards Cross, England and has two children, Bonnie and Robi.  He can be contacted at [email protected]

Editor’s note: The PMWJ Advances in Project Management series includes articles by authors of program and project management books published by Gower in the UK.  The articles are coordinated by series editor Prof Darren Dalcher, who is also the editor of the Gower Advances in Project Management series of books on new and emerging concepts in PM.  Prof Dalcher also provides an introduction to the current month’s article, which you can see elsewhere in this month’s edition.”  Information about the Gower series can be found at http://www.gowerpublishing.com/advancesinprojectmanagement.