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Tough to manage quality focus on planning
Quality is the key to achieving success, whether it is a tiny pin or a huge ship, the buyer wouldn’t buy your product if it is degraded in quality. Even, when we go to any supermarket to purchase our daily needs, the first thing we do is to check the quality before placing the order. And, sometimes we won’t mind paying some extra bucks buying a high-quality product instead of choosing a cheaper one.
The quality of a product can be assessed more appropriately when end users actually use that product. But imagine, what will be the impact of a low-quality product; you may end up losing the customer, and even face lawsuits. That unquestionably damages your company’s brand value in the highly competitive market.
Let’s discuss some common scenarios where a small fraction of degradation in quality can cost the maker very dearly –
When developing a software application, sometimes few bugs can be left unnoticed, that may be acceptable in some circumstances. But, can that be allowed in a payment gateway? Imagine how much it costs for the company if the bugs remain present in the complex payment calculation algorithm of a banking application.
- Construction of a metal sheet with few low-quality materials can be acceptable at some places, but can that be allowed when that metal sheet is built for a nuclear plant? How hazardous will it be if a tiny hole found in the sheet?
- And what about making of a Boeing? Is there any chance of defects slippage? A small mistake in its highly complex software system can be extremely dangerous for our safety.
So, the failure to meet the quality requirements can have severe, adverse consequences for the project as well as for the stakeholders.
Managing the quality is un-doubtedly the most critical for most of the projects. A proper stringent process should be in place to ensure that the product is extensively tested depending upon its criticality, before shipping it to the customer.
The first step towards managing the quality is to identifying the quality requirements and standards for the project and its deliverables.
There are some proven tools and techniques that can be used to plan quality management.
Cost of Quality
While identifying and planning for the quality management, it is highly essential to plan the areas where you should invest your cost and effort to prevent the expenses which normally incurred due to failures.
Cost of Conformance
There are certain areas in the project where we need to invest money for the quality work to ensure that the project and its deliverables can achieve the quality requirements and avoid failures.
The cost of conformance is broadly divided into two groups, those are:
Prevention cost is the money needed to perform specific measures that safeguard the quality, thus prevents defects.
This will in turn improves the quality of the product as well as restricts the money can be wasted in failures. So, how to prevent costs, let’s check them.
- Training: Provide training to the team on required skills for quality work
- Documentation: Prepare policy, guidelines and other documents to follow
- Equipment: Regularly updates the equipment and maintain them properly
- Quality Standards: Follow the standards and procedures without any excuses
The appraisal cost is the money required to analyze and resolve the defects, measure the qualities, and prevents the defects going to the hands of the customers. Those activities are:
- Testing with proper plan and processes
- Destructive testing loss
Cost of Non-Conformance
This is the money you have to spend in case of failures when the quality requirements are not maintained properly.
The cost of Non-Conformance also divided into two categories
Internal Failure Costs
The money needed for the defects found in the project before shipping to the customers, which required project cost to resolve. And due to those failures following activities needs to be carried out.
- Rework: Rework increases cost to manifolds depending upon the type of defects found
- Scrap: Scrapping a module or major portions of work can cost heavily compared to the cost involved in making of it
External Failure Costs
The costs incurred due to the defects found in the deliverable at the customer side when the real users use the product. Those are:
- Warranty work
- Loss of business goodwill
It’s better to focus more on the cost of conformance to prevent the failures because the cost of non-conformance costs much more than the cost of conformance.
Awesome 7 Tools for Quality Planning and Control
The seven quality tools are used to solve the quality related issues in the context of PDCA cycle (Deming Cycle- Plan-Do-Check-Act). Let’s discuss those seven QA/QC tools.
Cause and Effect Diagram
This is also called Fishbone or Ishikawa diagram helps to find the root cause to solve the problems. It is used for both quality planning and quality control.
Use the diagram by placing the broader problem at the head of the fish, that is the starting point then trace the problem’s source to its actionable root cause. Then apply the solutions to resolve the issues. It can also use to generate multiple ideas in the quality planning process.
The Flowcharts are very useful when you want to analyze where the problem befalls by looking into the interrelated processes shows in the flowchart. It graphically represents how the process or the system progresses from the beginning to the end. It also used to identify the bottlenecks and repetitions in the system.
The histogram is a bar chart, vertically represents the frequency of occurrence of a distinct variable. It does not consider the influence of time in the variations like control chart.
Check sheets are useful at the time of inspections to make sure that all the required processes are being followed in the team. It also uses to ensure that required processes are captured and executed.
This is based on the popular 80/20 principles to identify the critical few sources that are responsible for many uncritical issues, 80% of issues are caused by 20% of reasons. It helps to prioritize the work by giving attention to those critical issues.
The control charts are used to monitor the project’s performance in terms of cost and schedule. The variances need to be monitored cautiously to determine whether the process is within the acceptable limit, and based on that corrective actions need to be taken when required.
The scatter diagrams are used to verify whether two variables are correlated to each other or individual entity. And, if they are correlated, then observe how the changes in one variable impacts on another variable.
Quality Management is not only doing the perfect plan, it is also required to ensure that the team is following the processes as per the plan. And another important thing is to control the quality throughout the process to ensure that it is under the acceptable limit.
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