Nowadays, one of the crucial tasks of any organization is to consider the level of quality of products (or services) offered to customers. The attention to quality management may be explained by the change of the standards. For example, several decades ago, project managers focused on the cost of quality and the necessity to gain total quality control. Today, quality has nothing in common with standards. Quality is usually defined by customers (Kerzner, 2013) and used as a weapon in competitions that take place between different companies. It is not an easy task to meet the customers’ expectations in terms of quality, and companies should be ready to develop appropriate quality management plans to provide customers and stakeholders with explanations of how to improve products or services and why some changes are necessary.
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The current paper aims at introducing the quality management plan as a roadmap for stakeholders and a blueprint for the project manager to rely on when the time to instill a quality of the product and its performance comes. The current quality management plan is based on the project scope, the already set pricing policy, cost control issues, estimating techniques, and the analysis of trade-offs. The project environment and the chances to improve the quality of the project have to be identified and analyzed properly because this plan is one of the last chances to achieve success and create a guide in accordance with which the work, materials, and quality can be chosen.
Quality Management Importance
As a rule, project managers start developing quality management plans as soon as they create a project. Quality is one of the primary constraints on a project that is defined by a team, stakeholders, or sponsors (Heldman, 2011). It is possible to identify the quality standards and policy with the help of a properly developed quality plan. There are many templates that can be used by project managers to develop a quality management plan, and the manager should discuss the choice with stakeholders to introduce the required portion of information properly.
In this project, the task is to touch upon project scope, cost control, pricing policy, trade-offs and estimating techniques. The idea of quality improvement does not mean that some mistakes have been observed. It is necessary to admit that, in respect to the quality management principles defined by ISO, improvement is considered as an essential issue for any organization to maintain the performance of the same or even a better level and to meet the changes with the necessary level of readiness (Quality Management Principles, 2015).
The stakeholders should understand that quality improvement is a chance to change the already created project, identify its weak aspects, and make them stronger. The concerns about the quality management initiatives should be a threat for project management. It should become a chance to demonstrate a personal readiness to work harder and introduce a new apparel line with the label “Senior 2016” for a wide range of customers.
Quality Management Foundations
At the beginning of the project, it is expected to produce 200 T-shirts and offer them to students and anyone, who can be involved in a graduation process in 2016. As soon as the costs are covered, and some benefits can be observed, it is possible to enlarge the amount of production and offer more T-shirts. The T-shirts are made of quality fabrics in order to be sure that people can use the senior apparel they choose during a long period of time. There is no necessity to use some expensive accessories or details. It is enough to introduce a high-quality T-shirt that does not cost a lot and can be used for years.
The offered product is not only a new type of clothes that students may choose from. It is a spirit of the year and the desire to underline what has been already achieved and what should be achieved more. The project under consideration helps to offer people a new apparel line and become a part of customers’ lives because they choose this production. Stakeholders should be interested in the development of such a project because it is a chance to make something useful for people, earn money, and gain a good reputation.
It is planned to have a loan of $1000 and produce 200 T-shirts. With an interest rate of 10% and the possibility to make repayment four times per year, it is expected to earn $2000. The stakeholders should know that the company they are interested in has all chances to set a price per T-shirt in $6-10 and have some benefits. Such possibilities serve as evidence of good prospects of the company and the ability to return money in accordance with the deadlines set.
Sponsors and stakeholders can observe the pricing policy of the company and clarify that there are no threats to invest money because the style of student life and the intentions to be unique in a certain period of time are the best reasons for people to buy the offered production. It does not require spending much money; however, the experience, gained during this project, is priceless.
Cost Control and Estimating Techniques
Cost control is not only a chance to monitor costs and record data but also to analyze the information and take the required actions before some mistakes or discontent take place. In the project under analysis, it is suggested to use a flexible system of discounts to attract customers and meet their needs. This system can be approved because it proves that the project is customer-centered, and its quality is linked with the market and cost sides’ profitability (Kerzner, 2013). As a rule, customers want to be confident in the services and products they choose. The current project provides them with the necessary guarantees and clearly defines quality, cost, and delivery conditions (Hoyle, 2007). The stakeholders can observe all these points are mentioned in the previous projects when the scope statement and details of the project have been introduced.
The trade-off analysis shows that there are three main aspects that any project manager should pay attention to: time, cost, and performance of a project. Any kind of deviation has to be evaluated in order to offer the most appropriate improvements and corrections. In this case, the stakeholders are not sure of the quality initiatives to be implemented for this project. It means that more time should be spent to develop a quality management plan and provide the stakeholders with a map to rely on during the project. As a rule, such kind of work does not influence the project’s cost and performance. Still, it is possible that more time is necessary to complete the required portion of work.
Quality Management Plan
The movement of quality has begun many centuries ago when people faced the possibility to choose and use the environment around them. The views of quality have undergone considerable changes, and people try to create a definite system in regards to which products and services can be offered. Today, the quality movement is based on the works of three prominent researchers and economists: Deming, Juran, and Crosby (Kerzner, 2013). Each of them introduced a number of steps to quality improvement and management. For example, today, quality management should help to drive out fear, adopt new philosophies, set goals that can help to improve the production, determine actual quality problems, take actions to correct the problems, etc.
The possibility to improve quality is a new achievement, and not many organizations are able to make the necessary corrections in time. Besides, to succeed in improvement, it is also necessary to report on progress and keep score that can allow identifying wrong and correct decisions made. The quality movement may be put under threat because of a lack of knowledge, poor experience of the workers, and even the mistakes made during the process. Such misunderstandings take place because employees are not always able to do their best. They may need some time, more sources, or a little bit of inspiration (Kerzner, 2013). The reasons, as well as the approaches to improve the production, can vary; that is why the sphere of qualitative management is developing day by day. The main qualitative principles are defined by the organization and its stakeholders and have to meet properly.
The project under analysis may undergo the following approaches to quality improvement so that its stakeholders understand the true intentions of the company and the possibility to cope with the challenges:
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- Breaking down the barriers: it is expected to define the quality problems or management shortages to eliminate the barriers;
- Leadership adoption: it is necessary to think about a person, who can think about the general view of the project and its details and make sure the production meets the standards set;
- Employees’ training: it is possible to provide some team members with additional training courses and develop their professional skills (Flannes & Levin, 2005);
- The creation of a quality management department: one person should be offered to control the quality of the production and services, investigate the product environment, and introduce some new ways to improve the working process.
Quality Management Concepts
There are six concepts that should be discussed in any kind of project: quality policy, objectives, assurance, control, audit, and program plan. In the project focused on the T-shirt production, all these concepts should be taken into consideration to prove the stakeholders that all quality initiatives can be justified and approved.
The quality policy
Is created by an expert and approved by the leader of a project so that the project has a clearly identified statement and guidelines for a team and stakeholders. This project has the following quality policy: “Senior 2016 is a chance to provide students with hope, dreams, and understand of what is happening around and memorize the moment of graduation using quality, simplicity, and comfort.” This statement informs about the principles of the work and provides an explanation of how and why the companies view quality.
Should be selected carefully regarding the time frames. The possible objectives of the current project are: (1) to train a team on the quality policy by the end of the week; (2) to divide the responsibilities among the members of a team before the production of T-shirts; (3) to establish the deadlines of the work at the beginning; and (4) to create several departments that have different goals and follow the development of the processes.
Aims at developing the activities with the help of which it is possible to analyze the products and services and the way they meet the quality level set. The quality assurance system for the project is as follows: a project manager introduces a person, who should be responsible for the quality management and control of the project. The main task is to promote employees’ training and explanation of how all customers’ needs and expectations can be met.
This project is not only about the production of T-shirts but about the necessity to provide ordinary students with such T-shirts and complete this task within one year (because the next 2017 year will not be appropriate for the label, and some innovations can be required). The quality manager should also gather the opinions of potential customers about the reasons why they want to buy such a T-shirt: if it is quality, price, label, or everything at once. The company and its stakeholders should understand what aspects they should pay more attention to and improve the quality of the defined sector.
Is the concept that identifies the activities and different techniques with the help of which specific quality characteristics can be created. The quality control system of the project can be developed to improve working relations and the professionalism of a team. To introduce a product of good quality, it is necessary to have a team that works according to the orders and standards. Each team member has to take several courses on how to work in a team, introduce new products to people of different ages, and demonstrate the best characteristics of the products. Monitoring has to be properly organized to comprehend if the training programs/courses are effective and if it is necessary to continue taking them. As soon as some changes (positive and negative) can be observed, a new strategy can be developed.
Is the evaluation of the project on the basis of the requirements set before the project has begun. This project has to pass through the following quality audit policies:
- If the offered product is safe for customers;
- If a planned quality has been met;
- If no laws or regulations have been broken;
- If there are some improvement opportunities can be identified.
A quality plan
Is the last concept of quality management that has to be created by the project manager and followed by a team to meet the goals, achieve success, and gain benefits.
- Clarify the features of a product: quality fabric is used for the creation of T-shirts, no additional accessories, simplicity, and actuality.
- Identify customers: students, who are going to graduate in 2016, their relatives, or other people, who are eager to buy a specific labeled production;
- Contact suppliers and stakeholders: payment details and sponsorship should be discussed beforehand to make sure the services of suppliers can be paid;
- Discuss the roles with team members: each team member has a particular sphere of work to be responsible for;
- Control the process: a quality management department checks the way T-shirts are produced, observes how the team works, and analyze the achievement that are expected to be made and have been actually made.
Cost of Quality
It is very important to verify that the chosen product meets the requirements and customer’s expectations. At the same time, there is a necessity to save money and gain some benefits to make sure that the project makes sense for customers, as well as for its developers. Though altruistic business is appreciated in society, the current project has to have profits and help people earn money. It is necessary to provide students with hope and happiness because of they are achieving their last year of education. Still, it is also necessary to make sure that people invest and earn money.
In this project, it is expected to avoid internal and appraisal costs. Still, it is necessary to pay more attention to prevention costs (associated with the necessity to train the team and explain how to make the right solutions) and external failure costs (associated with customers and their disappointments that the product does not satisfy their needs) (Kerzner, 2013). It may happen that customers want to see more pockets on a T-shirt or more color variety, etc.
Implementing Six Sigma
Six Sigma is the approach that can be used to improve the already developed project management system. It was introduced by the Motorola representative at the beginning of the 1990s (Kerzner, 2013) and has gained success in a short period of time. This strategy helps to choose the most appropriate statistical tools and create products in a better faster and cheaper way. Its goal is to reduce the challenges and defects that can be identified by the company or even by customers, when the product has been already offered.
The implementation of Six Stigma means the removal of defects by means of careful examination. It is necessary to gather enough information to create a basis for work. Customers and a team should know what kind of project is expected and understand what kind of work should be done. Data collection and analysis are crucial. Such approach creates some time changes, and the team should be ready to make the adjustments and overcome the challenges of the delays.
In general, the quality management initiative can help the team to create a good project and find an approval from the stakeholders and sponsors. On the one hand, the project does not contain any surprise or novelty. On the other hand, the idea to introduce T-shirts with label “Senior 2016” and set affordable prices can attract students’ attention. Besides, these T-shirts will be available directly to the students on a campus. People can check the quality of the product and deprive themselves of any hidden aspects. Students watch and touch what they can get in a short period of time. It is also possible to order multiple deliveries and get discounts. Stakeholders should not have some doubts about the quality aspect of the project. The table offered below is one of the possible cost estimation spreadsheets that can be offered to stakeholders to prove the effectiveness of the project and the idea itself.
|Number of possible customers per day||20|
|Number of days open per year||200|
|Total customers per year||4000|
|Percentage of customers, who can buy a T-shirt||50%|
|Actual number of customers per year||$2000|
|Total annual revenue||$10000|
Flannes, S. & Levin, G. (2005). Essential people skills for project managers. Vienna, VA: Management Concepts.
Heldman, K. (2011). Project management jumpstart. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Hoyle, D. (2007). Quality management essentials. Burlington, MA: Routledge.
Kerzner, H. (2013). Project management: a systems approach to planning, scheduling, and controlling. New York City, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Quality management principles. (2015). International Organization for Standardization. Web.