Best practices in project quality management/leadership for IT Essay
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1. 0 Introduction Most people simply accept low quality from many information technology (IT) products. So what if ones laptop crashes a couple of times a week? Just ensure there is back up for data. So what if one cannot log in to the business intranet or the internet right now? Just attempt a little later when it is less busy. So what if the latest version of word-processing software was shipped with several bugs? One may like the software’s new features, and all new software has bugs.
Is quality a real problem with information technology projects? Yes, it is! IT is not just a luxury available in some offices, homes, or schools. Firms throughout the world provide employees with access to computers. The majority of people in the US use the internet, and usage in other countries continues to expand rapidly. It took only six years for 60 million people to use the internet compared to 20 years for 60 million to use cell phones (Kathy, 2008, p.
292). Many issues of individual and or group lives depend on high-quality IT products.
Food is produced and distributed with the help of computers; vehicles have computer chips to monitor performance; students use computers to aid them learn in school; organizations depend on technology for many business functions; and millions of people depend on technology for entertainment and individual communications (Kathy, 2008). Many IT projects develop mission-critical systems that are utilized in life-and-death circumstances. Such as navigation systems on aircraft and computer components built into medical equipment.
Financial institutions and their clients also depend on high-quality information systems. Clients get very upset when systems present inaccurate data or display information to unauthorized people that could result to identity theft. When any of these systems fails, it is much more than a mere inconvenience (Taguchi, 2004). 1. 1 Definitions Before one can enhance the quality of IT projects, it is good to understand the fundamental concepts of project quality management. Indeed, it is hard to define project quality management.
According to the international organization for standardization (ISO) quality can be defined as the totality of features of an organization that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied requirements (Kathy, 2008). It can also be defined as the extent to which a set of inherent features fulfils needs (ISO9000). Other professionals define quality based on adherence to needs and fitness for use. Adherence to needs means project’s products and processes meet laid down specifications. Fitness for use implies a product can be used as it was intended.
The purpose of project quality management is to make sure that the project will fulfill the requirements for which it was undertaken. Project management involves among others things meeting or surpassing stakeholder requirements and anticipations. The project group must initiate good relationships with core stakeholders, especially the primary client for the project, to comprehend what quality implies to them. Many technical projects fail because the project management group aims only at meeting the written requirements for the project (Juran and Frank, 2002).
Quality, therefore, must be on an equal basis with project scope, cost, and time. If the project’s stakeholders are dissatisfied with the quality of the project management or the end products of the project, the management group will require adjusting time, cost, and scope to fulfill stakeholder needs. In which case meeting only documented requirements for time, cost, and scope is not sufficient. To attain stakeholder fulfillment, the project group must come up with a good working relationship with all stakeholders and comprehend their implied or stated requirements.
Best practices: over the years, organizations have become mesmerized with the term-best practice-but after continued use, experts began scrutinizing the expression and now better definitions exist. A best practice starts simply with an idea. Knowing that there is a process, tool, activity, or method that can deliver results effectively than any other method and provides one with the desired results with less barriers and predictable complexities is a welcome.
As a result, one apparently ends up with an efficient way of completing a task by use of a repeatable procedure that has stood the test of time for quite a large number of IT projects (Kathy, 2008). As project quality management evolved, so did the meanings of best practices. Some definitions of best practices are complicated while others are somehow simple. Yet, they both address the same aim of encouraging project quality management throughout the organization. Firms must decide on the depth and extent of their best practices.
Must it be at high level and generic or at a low level and detailed? A generic best practice may not attain the desired efficiencies whereas a detailed one may not have unlimited applicability. Basically, any firm can decide to have own definition of best practices and there might even be company quality requirements on the definition of such best practices. For example, a best practice can be defined as something that: works, works well, works well on a repetitive basis, leads to a competitive advantage, can be identified in quest to improve business, and prevents the firm from problems.