Quality of the Project Management Process

Executive Summary

Quality of the project is defined based on how well the outcomes correspond to the initial requirements. This assignment focuses on project management, specifically the domain of quality management. The first section of this paper is an overview of literature including ISO and PMBOK standards, which provide project managers with tools such as BPO or a set of ISO specifications using which a project manager can evaluate the processes of a project. The following sections present templates for auditing the quality of initiating, planning and executing processes of a project. Additionally, a non-conformance reporting template that should be used to report the adverse events where some of the outputs do not correspond to quality requirements is presented. Using ZFS’s construction of the American International School of Jeddah project, this paper shows the process of auditing. In general, to monitor the quality of a project successfully, a manager should prepare a set of checklists and templates for audits, ensure that communication within the team is well-established and encourage reporting non-conformance events.

Literature Study

A project manager can use three methods to manage quality. The PMBoK guide defines this process of quality management as the management of both the project and its deliverables (Project Management Institute, 2017). For the construction industry, the quality is regulated by the project’s specifications and specifications developed by a professional body, for example, ‘ASTM, ANSI, ACI, AWS,’ which are standards for the materials used in construction (Furst 2015, para. 1). Some aspects of the construction project must be tested by an outside organisation, for example, soil’s compatibility with the project or the strength of concrete.

Next, more generally, the evaluation of performance and outcome using the initial requirements of the project is the first method. With this method, a project manager leverages the behaviour-to-outcome (BPO) model, which allows to the assessment of quality based on the perception of the manager and stakeholder regarding how well the project aligns with the requirements for it (Liu and Walker 1998). Moreover, if some areas where the performance is not aligned with the requirements is found, the BPO allows making changes, since the primary tool in BPO is surveying the managers and stakeholders (Turk 2008).

Another method is the assessment of the project’s maturity, which is an evaluation of the tools, their sophistication, and the way the project management team applied these tools in a project. The maturity assessment allows comparing approaches that a company uses to manage the project to the industry standards and is conducted by a manager (Kerzner 2019; Rad and Livene 2006). Other examples are Organisational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3) and P3M3 models, where OPM3 is a best practice for portfolio management and allows managing maturity, processes and domains of a project (T2Informtik n.d.). P3M3 is referring to the portfolio, programme and project maturity and is a framework for evaluating how a company delivers its projects (AXELOS 2015). Awards such as Deming Prise are established to assess the Total Quality Management practices and looking at businesses that received Deming’s Prise and the methods they use can be helpful (JUSE n.d.).

The next option is to use standards created by a separate organisation to compare the project to these set rules. One example is the ISO, which is an international organisation providing certification and developing quality standards for different industries, and its 21500 standard was developed for project management (ISO 2012). Alternatively, the Project Management Institute standards can be used for an assessment as well. PMBoK, for instance, has a description of standards, such as risk management or management of communications and stakeholders that outline the best practices of project management (Project Management Institute 2017). A manager, therefore, can compare the practices they use within a project to those described in PMBoK to evaluate if their project is managed effectively and use tools recommended by PMI. It is important to mention that these practices help an organisation support the continuous improvement of how it manages its projects and remain competitive in comparison to others.

Template Development

For this section, a checklist template for Zuhair Fayez Partnerships’ (ZFP) construction project of the American International School in Jeddah will be developed and presented. Each audit of the project looks at the processes of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring or controlling and closing (Project Management Institute 2017). Table 1 is a checklist, which can be used to evaluate the first three stages of ZFP’s project. For each item in the table, the auditor has to determine the maturity level and compliance for each element of the checklist.

An audit is a process of a formal review where the auditor evaluates a project based on a set of predefined criteria (Wrike 2020). To ensure fair treatment and clarity, audits have to be performed by individuals that are not a part of the project’s team. For this audit template, Table 1 was created to present the checklist of criteria and “assessment of maturity” column allows determining the readiness of each stage.

Process Criteria Compliance (Y/N) Assess Maturity from 1 to 5
Initiating
  • Ensure that the construction project is justified
  • The is a clear purpose of the construction
  • The requirements correspond with the laws of Saudi Arabia
  • The project will not harm the environment
  • The stakeholders of the project were identified
  • The construction has a project sponsor and project manager
  • There is a project charter
  • Budget is defined
  • Project Initiation document is Prepared
Planning
  • There is a Project Management Plan
  • The plan describes the scope of this project
  • There are references to supporting documentation in the PM plan
  • The charter is signed off by the sponsor
  • Charter was developed in partnership with the project’s team
  • Charter is reviewed and updated regularly
Executing
  • A Project Manager has been appointed for this project, who is held accountable for the outcomes
  • The roles and responsibilities have been defined
  • There is a chain of accountability
  • There is a team for the execution of the project
  • The project manager presented the plan for the project
  • The resource management plan is present
  • The project manager developed a contingency plan

Table 1. Audit template (created by the author).

Next, although there are a checklist and a template for an audit, it is possible that some adverse events will affect the quality of this project, which is known a non-conformance. None-conformance is any adverse event that happened during a project, for example, if the final output cannot be used for the purposed that were intended (Maylor 2010). Alternatively, non-conformance is when the project does not correspond to certain requirements (Larson and Gray, 2014). A non-conformance template shown as Table 2 allows the project manager and team members to report these adverse events once they happen and therefore address them in a timely manner.

Non-Conformance Audit (NCA)
Name of the audit:
Location:
Date:
Auditor’s Name:
Project Name:
Project ID:
Contractors:
Brief Description of the Audit Please provide a detailed but concise description of the non-conformance event, include details such as item numbers or requirements that do not align with the project’s quality measures.Also, include the implications for the company and the project in general.
Impact High/low
Urgency High/low
Describe a corrective action: Please detail what corrective actions must be taken to resolve the issue and how they align with the project’s requirements and the non-conformance event.
Planned Completion Date: Please state the data, by which the non-conformance should be addressed.
Is there a structured approach to closing off the stages of this project? Y/N
Action Party
Resolved by:
Date:
Verified:

Demonstration

The sample project that will be used to apply the audit tools is ZFP’s public school construction for the American School in KSA, and the project is titled “International American School in Jeddah”. The primary characteristics of this project are as follows: the anticipated size of the school building is 48,535 m², with 310 parking lot spaces (Zuhair Fayez Partnerships Consultants n.d). ZFP is responsible for developing the design and plan of the building and managing the vendors and contractors until the building is completed.

The audit report was prepared with an assumption that the project has begun, with the first stages of the completion, such as site clearance and initial stages of the building construction being completed. The completed audit report and non-conformance report are presented as Tables 4 and 5 in the Appendix of this document, and the audit was prepared for the monitoring and controlling stages of the project management.

The monitoring and controlling stage of the construction audit in Appendix A show that the process of construction is going well. The project manager prepared documentation for regular reports and receives updates regarding the project. Under this project, the project manager regularly assesses and reports the maturity of the project and the compliance of each stage with the requirements. The communication on this project is effective; there are established communication channels that the team uses on a regular basis. Next, in Appendix B, there is a non-conformance report for the number of parking lot spaces dedicated to this project. Initially, ZFP declared that 310 parking spaces would be built, while during the construction, the team reported that not all of the allocated scape could be used for the parking lot, reducing the number of spaces to 290.

Quality Metrics

In this section, the author will continue to examine the project quality assessment. With this project, quality is managed using the requirements declared by the stakeholders and the construction standards of Saudi Arabia. Currently, there is no unified approach to viewing quality, since this is a subjective metric that may depend on the nature of a project and the expectations of the stakeholders, hence, there are several definitions and criteria for quality. Quality, in general, can be defined as the ability to use the project’s output as intended (Project Management Institute 2017). For example, in this construction project, the quality is defined by the construction standards of the KSA, for example, the standards for land clearing, engineering work, design, materials, and other elements. Hung and Sung (2011) refer to quality as an objective element of the evaluation, which is tangible and can be measured. However, according to Oakland (2003), the main criteria of quality is the correspondence or conformance with the project’s requirements. The ISO standards, such as 9001, define quality as a matter of stakeholder’s expectations (ISO n.d.). For example, with the construction of the school, the expectations of the Board of Trustees would be the primary quality metric under ISO 9001 standard. From this perspective, quality can be assessed by examining the stakeholder’s satisfaction with the project. Therefore, quality and its management can be approached differently, depending on the requirements and a perspective that a project manager is using.

According to PMBoK, there are several project knowledge areas, and this report will explore communications and risk management elements. In the matrix presented as Table 3, the communications management plan and risk management for the ZFP’s project are shown. There are five metrics for each knowledge areas with corresponding acceptance criteria.

Knowledge Area Metric Name MetricDestription Acceptance Criteria
Communication
  1. Communication channel
  2. Response rate
  3. Reports
  4. User quality metric – conformance
  5. User quality metric – announcements
  1. There is a communication channel
  2. The team members communication is effective
  3. Each team member has to prepare and send a report about the project’s status
  4. If a request cites a specific timeframe for response, it must be followed.
  5. The project manager will send out announcements and updates to the team members, and the response rate of clicking in these emails is the metric.
  1. All team members have a corporate email.
  2. Team members respond within 5 hours.
  3. The reports from team members are sent each week, on Friday and reviewed by the manager by the end of Monday.
  4. If a team member receives an email asking for a response within three hours, these three hours are the acceptance criteria.
  5. Click through rate should be at least 80%
Risk
  1. Acceptable delay
  2. Risk log
  3. Risk identification
  4. Board of Trustees satisfaction
  5. Addressing risks
  1. Delays
  2. The project manager regularly updates and checks the risk log
  3. The timeframe from the moment when a team member determined risk and logged it should be limited
  4. The main stakeholder with this project is the Board of Trustees, and their level of satisfaction with the deliverables should be evaluated and assessed.
  5. The project manager has to assign a team member responsible for addressing each risk from the log.
  1. The overall delay for the project is limited to 3 days.
  2. The risk log is checked every week.
  3. The risk must be logged within 24 hours after a team member identified it.
  4. Stakeholder satisfaction should be no less than 90%
  5. A responsible team member who will manage the risk is assigned within 24 hours after the risk log was reviewed.

Table 3. Knowledge areas (created by the author).

Overall, this report is focused on project quality management. Quality can be viewed as either compliance with some requirements, the stakeholder’s satisfaction, or the functions of the project’ output and how these correspond with the initial requirements. The author developed templates for different auditing processes and conducted an audit for the monitoring process and a non-conformance report. Additionally, quality, in general, was discussed from the perspective of different authors. The author developed metrics and acceptance criteria for two knowledge areas: communications and risk management.

References

AXELOS. 2015. “Introduction to P3M3.” Introduction. Web.

Furst, Peter. 2015. “Construction Quality Management.” Articles. Web.

Hung, H., and Sung, M. 2011. “Applying Six-Sigma to Manufacturing Processes in the Food Industry to Reduce Quality Cost.” Scientific Research and Essays, 6 (3): 580-591.

ISO. n.d. “ISO 9000 Family.” Web.

ISO. 2012. “ISO 21500:2012.” Standard. Web.

JUSE. n.d. “How was the Deming Prize Established.” Web.

Kerzner, Harold. 2019. “How to Conduct a Project Management Maturity Assessment.” In Using the Project Management Maturity Model: Strategic Planning for Project Management, 3rd edn., edited by Harold Kerzner, pp. 100-120. New Jersey: Wiley.

Maylor, H. 2010. Project Management. 4th Ed. New York: Financial Times/Prentice-Hall.

Oakland, J. 2003. Total Quality Management. 3rd. edn. Butterworth-Heinemann, Oxford Project Management Institute. 2017. PMBOK® Guide. 6th edn. Newtown Square: PMI.

Rad, P. and Levin, G. 2006. “Project Management Maturity Assessment.” AACE International Transactions, 1-4.

T2Informtik. n.d. “OPM3.” Web.

Turk, W. 2008. “How Healthy is Your Project?” Defense AT&L, 37(2): 32-34.

Wrike. 2020. “What is a Project Management Audit?” Web.

Zuhair Fayez Partnerships Consultant. n.d. “American International School of Jeddah.” Zuhair Fayez Partnerships Consultant. Web.

Appendix A

Process Criteria Comply (Y/N) Assess Maturity (1-5)
Monitoring/Controlling Has the manager prepared a structure for the monitoring process? Y
Does the manager receive regular reports from the cite? Y
Is there a team communication channel and communication plan? 5
Are there mechanisms for determining issues and escalations? 3
The first stages of site clearance and construction were completed following the plan. N 2

Table 4. Project audit for the monitoring and controlling phase (created by the author).

Appendix B

Non-Conformance Audit (NCA)
Name of the audit: Parkin lot readiness
Location: International School of Jeddah
Date: October 15, 2020
Auditor’s Name: Name
Project Name: International School of Jeddah construction
Project ID: 199002
Contractors: X Construction company
Brief Description of the Audit Upon evaluating the readiness of the construction site for the beginning of the parking lot construction stage of the project, the auditor found that only 90% of the site was cleared and prepared for further stages. This means that currently, the contractor is unable to build 310 parking spaces as planned since there is space for only 290 parking spaces.
Impact High
Urgency High
Describe a corrective action: The rest of the cite has to be cleared and checked to ensure that 100% of the land is ready for parking lot construction.
Planned Completion Date: October 25, 2020
Is there a structured approach to closing off the stages of this project? Y
Action Party
Resolved by: Project Manager
Date: October 16, 2020
Verified: Signature

Table 5. Non-conformance report (created by the author).