“Quality means doing it right when no one is looking.” – Henry Ford
Quality is all about understanding the criteria for acceptance and success whether that be the level of bandwidth available on a network link, the number of transactions a system can process an hour or the weight a suspension bridge can sustain before agreed tolerances are met for expansion and movement. However all of this needs to be tested and measured before going live, otherwise quality will remain just an idea required on paper and the project carries a high risk of failure.
Some of the most common mistakes within projects include not having a clear understanding of the quality required and not testing this thoroughly enough against agreed acceptance and success criteria. Anything a project delivers is called a product and the plans, milestones, tasks and artefacts are all stepping stones on the way to having a product that the client accepts and signs off on.
There are usually 2 main factors that determine the standard of the milestones and products you deliver. The first is budget and the second is the timescale available to produce and test them. Clearly, the budget dictates the quality and quantity of equipment and/or service to be purchased and the level of external expertise that can be involved, together with the size of the project team and level of testing. However timescale available also determines how the budget is spent and this can impact quality.
Testing is very important to the realization of the product and if the timescale is too tight then you might have to scale back on aspects of the project in order to have sufficient testing time. Whatever you do, don’t skimp on the testing phase because that is what will ultimately decide whether you have a success or a failure on your hands.
Remember, testing doesn’t just mean making sure the client is happy but that any users (not always the same people) are happy, too.
So, how do we define the quality required by the project?
What we need is a document approved by the client that tells us the acceptance and success criteria. In other words, it tells us exactly the standard we are working to.
The Key documents here are the quality and test plans, however in the real world these are either not fully available (not detailed enough) or missing elements due to scope change or budgetary influences. So its essential to look at a combination of the following and update as required:
PID (Project Initiation Document/Charter) – Agree tolerances
Requirements Document and SOW (Statement of Work)
Design documents – HLD (High level design) LLD (Low level design)
Quality and Test plans
Once we have the quality parameters and tolerances we then have something tangible for us to test in order to decide if the project is successful.
Quality is a success confirmation mechanism that confirms that you have achieved the criteria that the client set out to achieve. Once this has been approved and has been signed off on, everybody is happy.
Cloudnet – Project People on Demand.
Tel: +44 203 1500312
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