Not by Accident: Revisiting quality management



Advances in Project Management

By Prof Darren Dalcher

Director, National Centre for Project Management
University of Hertfordshire




Quality management is devoid of the glamour, glitz and prestige associated with innovation, entrepreneurship and execution; yet it plays an unquestionable key part in delivering desired and sustainable results that are meaningful to clients and stakeholders.

The ideas underpinning the quality movement can be traced back to medieval Europe, where craftsmen proudly indicated that products and artefacts originated from a known and recognised master, serving as a seal of recognition and approval. Elevation to master status inevitably followed an extended apprenticeship process used to acquire the skills and capabilities that will enable the craftsman to develop their own unique practice. Esteem and recognition followed, providing an implied assurance related to deliverables produced by particular craftsmen.

The formation of guilds, dating back to the end of the 13th century, enabled craftsmen to organise into communities of excellent practitioners, referred to as unions. Guilds established professional expectations, through the development of standards and rules for product and service quality, and systems for enforcing the rules and confirming the levels of attainment in the resulting artefacts. Many guilds established inspection mechanisms and committees whose role was to evaluate artefacts and mark flawless products with pre-agreed marks or symbols.

The marks, acting as a seal of approval, indicated that the product was deemed to be satisfactory by the trade’s own body of experts. Many craftsmen also placed their own unique mark, indicating the provenance of an artefact as an implied guarantee of its quality through the name or mark. Over time, these marks were treated as further symbol confirming the reputation and hence offering further assurance. Inspection marks, recognised craftsmen trademarks’ and the inspection committees that confirmed conformance with typical expectations served as a proof of quality for buyers and tradesmen.


To read entire article (click here)

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. Each month an introduction to the current article is provided 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’s article is an introduction to the invited paper this month in the PMWJ by Gower author Dr. Ron Basu. Information about the Gower series can be found at http://www.gowerpublishing.com/advancesinprojectmanagement.


About the Author


Darren Dalcher, PhD

Series Editor

Director, National Centre for Project Management
University of Hertfordshire, UK



Darren Dalcher
, Ph.D. HonFAPM, FRSA, FBCS, CITP, FCMI is Professor of Project Management at the University of Hertfordshire, and founder and Director of the National Centre for Project Management (NCPM) in the UK. He has been named by the Association for Project Management (APM) as one of the top 10 “movers and shapers” in project management in 2008 and was voted Project Magazine’s “Academic of the Year” for his contribution in “integrating and weaving academic work with practice”. Following industrial and consultancy experience in managing IT projects, Professor Dalcher gained his PhD in Software Engineering from King’s College, University of London.

Professor Dalcher has written over 150 papers and book chapters on project management and software engineering. He is Editor-in-Chief of Software Process Improvement and Practice, an international journal focusing on capability, maturity, growth and improvement. He is the editor of the book series, Advances in Project Management, published by Gower Publishing of a new companion series Fundamentals of Project Management. Heavily involved in a variety of research projects and subjects, Professor Dalcher has built a reputation as leader and innovator in the areas of practice-based education and reflection in project management. He works with many major industrial and commercial organisations and government bodies in the UK and beyond.

Darren is an Honorary Fellow of the APM, a Chartered Fellow of the British Computer Society, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute, and the Royal Society of Arts, and a Member of the Project Management Institute (PMI), the Academy of Management, the Institute for Electrical and Electronics Engineers, and the Association for Computing Machinery. He is a Chartered IT Practitioner. He is a Member of the PMI Advisory Board responsible for the prestigious David I. Cleland project management award and of the APM Professional Development Board. Prof Dalcher is an academic editorial advisor for the PM World Journal. He can be contacted at [email protected].

To see other works by Prof Darren Dalcher, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/darren-dalcher/.