In today’s time-sensitive, cost-conscious marketplace, there is a good amount of pressure put on organizations to introduce products and services faster, cheaper, and smarter. Unfortunately, that efficiency o!en comes at the price of quality. “Good, fast, and cheap; pick any two” has been the tongue-in-cheek mantra of project managers everywhere for decades. However, it’s essential for everyone from executives, to project managers, to engineers and all team members in the process, to recognize that quality remains essential.
Why does quality matter?
The reason is clear. As Six-Sigma Black Belt PMP Shobhit Shrotriya warns, “In the contemporary world of intense competition, the primary focus of all organizations is customer satisfaction.”1 Customers may allow delay in the delivery of a product. Customers are also known for paying a higher price for products they value. However, there are no substitutions for quality. Customers recognize the failure of such a compromise, and with the modern predominance of product reviews and social media sharing, companies have more to worry about than one customer never buying again.
What happens when quality falls behind?
The lack of focus on quality has led to a downward spiral in many organizations which can get worse over time. Studies show that 85% of quality issues exist in a project due to negligence of senior management and the team.2
Even before the product reaches the customer, quality influences processes up and down the line. Here’s how it affects you or your organization:
Your output has been rejected by the quality control department. Now you must reprocess your work to meet the quality standards. You will now have to do some rework on that process, requiring more time, ultimately delaying delivery.
Organizations cannot afford a delay in deliveries as there may be a clause in the contract with the customer regarding a penalty for delay in delivery. So, a project manager must always try to avoid the schedule slippage and maintain optimum quality.
If there is a problem with quality, then the project will be reopened, which in turn means the cost for the project will now increase. The responsibility lies with the project manager to prevent additional cost due to poor quality.
No organization will approve of an increase in cost—especially due to poor quality. It is the project manager’s responsibility to prevent the poor quality.
Once you have delivered your product, there may be quality issues that may come up. This will become a major problem for the customer as well as the organization. A trust issue will crop up, since the customer may not rely on you for any more projects.
Poor quality control is a gift to competition. As word gets out about your quality failings, through the press (from reviews or even recalls) or social media, blood is in the water.
Especially in fields where there are few differences in product features, savvy competitors will harness your shortcomings through advertising comparisons, even perhaps justifying their higher product cost. Ultimately, this negligence results in customer dissatisfaction, poor product performance, and rework that ultimately jeopardizes your business—and most important, your customers.
What can you do?
As a project manager or quality manager in your company, it’s wise to create a few good systems and processes and update the higher management and your project team so that they are aware of the same. Educate your team on the importance of quality. Quality is an important aspect of the project which makes it essential for a project manager to stay alert throughout the lifecycle of the project. It is the responsibility of the team to maintain the quality of the project. A project manager should avoid poor quality by planning the quality policies effectively. Otherwise, this may result in loss of the project as a whole—and consequently, loss of business and reputation in the market.