the project managers [sic] perspective
by John L. Patterson
President — Northwest Ohio Chapter PMI Owens-Corning Fiberglas
Assuring project quality has, until recently, been a function assumed to be accomplished by the design and development engineering groups assigned to most technical projects, and by the functional specialists involved in other projects. In just the last two years, the issue of managing quality has become a topic of major interest within PMI, largely due to the energetic pursuit of project management quality issues by Mr. John L. Patterson, Founder and President of the Northwest Ohio Chapter of PMI International. Mr. Patterson holds a BS degree in Mechanical Engineering from Ohio State University and an MBA degree from LaSalle University, and is currently Division Manager of Production Engineering at Owens-Corning Fiberglas. He is also conducting a project for PMI in which he proposes that the Institute develop a set of standards for Quality Assurance/Quality Control in Project Management. For this reason, although Mr. Patterson was not on the ESA Project per se, he was asked to write the following short introduction to the ESA Project's materials describing the quality function.
Today, the Project Manager finds himself in a completely changing new world where wave after wave of quality and cost effectiveness demands are piling on him in tidal proportion.
Reports from Business Roundtable, American Society for Quality Control, the government and others are causing owners and management alike to add to the pressures for better quality and cost effectiveness in engineered projects.
We, as Project Managers, have often deluded ourselves into assuming that engineers, support people and contractors were all doing a good job and that the quality was built in. It was the easy thing to do. By virtue of the findings in the aforementioned reports, however, project managers are quickly realizing that we cannot assume quality is designed or built into the project. It must be PLANNED INTO THE PROJECT AND CONSISTENTLY MONITORED.
Planning Quality and Cost Effectiveness into the project must take place at the concept stage, well before the project is turned over to engineering and construction. In the two latter stages, quality must not only be managed, but also monitored into the project.
To assure that we are in the same vein of thinking regarding the nomenclature, definitions of quality and its ancillary phrases are defined below:
• Quality — “1. a characteristic or attribute of something: a property. 2. the natural or essential character of something. 3. excellence, superiority. 4. a degree or grade of excellence.” according to Webster.
• Quality Management — The planning, scoping, implementing, and monitoring of quality into all phases of the project from concept through the delivery aspects of the work. Quality Management involves the skill of forming and managing a team of people to achieve a qualitative goal within an effective cost and time frame, which will result in the production of a quality product or service. It entails selecting the specification parameters along with the systems and procedures needed to assure that quality is properly executed in all phases.
• Quality Assurance — This task begins with planning and proceeds to the drawing board in engineering, design, specifications and materials selection along with planning and scheduling. The quality planned into the project is implemented here, and there is no “passing the buck”.
• Quality Control — A process that starts in engineering, moves through procurement of materials for the field, and entails inspection upon receipt for damages and compliance to the purchase order specifications. It is ultimately monitored in the field with the contractors strictly adhering to installation specifications and the testing/inspection methods that are in effect as one of the controls in the project.
• Cost Effectiveness — This is a result of the quality built into the project. It involves not only the many facets of the project from concept through delivery to operations, but it must remain through the subsequent production operations. Without quality throughout the project, there is no cost effectiveness.
How do we accomplish cost effectiveness through quality? In engineered projects, quality is the design, fabrication and installation of the project components to best serve the functional, safety, performance and endurance requirements within the realm of practicality and economics.
This involves the total life cycle cost of the components and includes not only the initial purchase cost but also the subsequent maintenance cost of that time in production or operations. Risk analysis and cost of breakdown in production are also included. This is a judgment call by the design engineers based upon vendor data, prior knowledge of the specific components, and the exercise of Value Engineering.
The Project Manager's Perspective Toward Quality Management
The foregoing definitions illustrate the implications of quality for Project Management in every phase of the project. As the main focal point in the project, the Project Manager has the responsibility for cost, schedule and performance, which boil down to quality and cost effectiveness.
The quality factor starts with the concept of the project (contract) and with the customer or client. The quality of the concept is reflected in the subsequent scoping, estimating, engineering, bid packages, contractor bids, construction or installation, startup, and delivery of the operation to the client and ultimately in the operation of the end product.
Very important from the quality management perspective is the information derived from the concept meetings. Providing the base for the scope of the project, the information establishes the operational requirements of the customer/client. This base sets the tone of what is required to cost-effectively provide the customer/client with the necessities for an efficient and economical operation or production facility.
It is in this phase of planning that both the customer/client and the Project Manager must resist the temptation to build the proverbial “Solid Gold Cadillac.” Too much quality, or “overkill” on the quality required for an efficient operation, can eradicate project cost effectiveness just as quickly as too little quality.
Given that the concept planning is solidified and exact project parameters are established, quality management then comes to the fore. The Project Manager must devise, tailor and implement his quality program/systems for the specific project. The following are considerations that are essential for the management of quality and cost effectiveness in the project:
1. A quality function must be built into the project staff. This function, manned by an individual responsible only to management, must be dedicated to quality throughout the project and must be fully aware that in effectively doing his job, he isn't going to win many popularity contests. This function is responsible for implementing and monitoring quality systems and checks throughout the entire project, to include planning and engineering, bid packages, procurement, construction/installation and start-up of the completed facility or operation.
2. The Project Manager has the responsibility to assure that:
a. The quality function is well organized and practical for the project.
b. The total project team, from engineering through the construction manager, contractors, and start-up group, are working in concert toward the common goal of quality and cost effectiveness in the project. This involves a constant education process, emphasizing and inspiring team work, communications, professionalism, pride of workmanship and the conscientious involvement of every member of the total team.
c. Each team member is involved in quality. Involvement is key to the success of the project because the more a person feels he is contributing to the success of a project, the greater will be his effort to assure that success. This can be achieved through:
(1) Quality circles inspired by the quality person assigned to the project, where project personnel can offer their contributions for open-minded consideration and action.
(2) Providing a personnel suggestion system where contributions of constructive suggestions toward the betterment of the project will be openly received, considered and acted upon.
(3) Assuring that all suggestions for structural change are received by the architect, engineer, and project construction managers to assure no loss in structural or operational integrity. CAUTION! No arbitrary changes can be made without first approval of the aforementioned individuals. Present and future safety still remains the prime requisite.
(4) Recognition and appreciation of an individual's contribution is essential to the contributor and will keep him involved regardless of whether the suggestion or contribution is or is not used in the project. Note that a negative reply can still produce a positive attitude.
The reply can read as in this example:
Dear John Q. Contributor:
Your suggestion of June 6 is very much appreciated and though not presently applicable to this phase of the project, it has been placed in our ready reference file for later use on this or future projects.
Conscientious contributions such as yours will always have their place in assuring project success. Congratulations on your continuing enthusiasm toward the professional approach for project quality and economics.
Yours very truly,
Project Manager or Quality Manager
Machines and materials play a significant part in the project and the subsequent operations of the results of that project. However, the major portion of the project is people-oriented. It is people who generate, implement and execute the project concept, scope, engineering and design, estimates and cost control, specifications and procurement, control systems for materials, quality, manpower, safety, construction, facility startup and the overall delivery and operation. One of Will Rogers more astute observations was, “you can't get along without people.” This statement serves as a constant reminder today, that no matter how sophisticated we become in automation, robotics and computerization, the most important element in the total picture is still PEOPLE.
In the appraisal from this perspective, Quality Management is essentially people management. No matter if the Project Manager has a background in business, construction, or engineering, it doesn't take him long to realize that if he has 16 or 100 people in his project and each is pulling in a different direction, the project will not get off dead center and it becomes a loser.
Quality Management is achieved through people and their skills. Assuming that the project concept, time frame, budget and performance standards have been established, a quality manager will:
1. Communicate with and educate his team from its inception on the need for professionalism, quality and economics as performance criteria throughout the project.
2. Establish esprit de corps within his team by communicating a challenge to reach the objective through cooperative effort.
3. Build dedication by being receptive to suggestions for betterment of the project. He will communicate the suggestion through the rest of the team, giving credit to the originator, but getting them all involved in refining that suggestion.
4. Recognize his resources and make project assignments commensurate to the forte and potential for contribution of the assigned individual.
5. Be the mentor and guide for his assigned team and will encourage close interaction among them to assure cooperative, dedicated direction toward achieving a quality, cost effective project.
6. Have physical scale models of the facility, or at least the more complex portions of it, to provide ready visual aid to the project people. The models will illustrate interferences, potential hazards and potential production bottlenecks, if they are present.
In conclusion, quality management from the Project Manager's perspective is not isolated to quality of materials, machines and installations. Quality management starts at corporate management level in the development and support of attitudes toward quality and cost effectiveness. Those attitudes must be communicated down the corporate ladder through staff, management, supervision, professions, crafts, and ultimately to the newest apprentice in the group. Quality management is an attitude which, when properly instilled in every mind from top to bottom on that aforementioned corporate ladder, will take physical shape in quality systems, design, materials, installation, workmanship, facility, and production of an excellent product or service.
It is from this perspective that we must work to assure quality, cost effectiveness, and project success.
Mr. J. Mark Patrick, Project Management Consultant, fowarded the following letter on Quality Control to the Project Management Quarterly Editor. It is included here because of its clear relevance to this topic.
I read with considerable interest Bradley N. Stanton's discussion in the March issue of the PMQ and John Patterson's article in June regarding QA/QC in engineered projects. His comments are quite timely and appropriate considering the age of our national infra-structures, the national economy and the anticipated boom in building.
As a QA/QC professional, I see quality considerations becoming topics of concern and conversation in disciplines where previously technical competence alone was considered adequate for acceptable product performance. Some of our national pride and world economic position have been lost because quality became subordinate to certain corporate interests. Now it is clear that in order to compete with foreign competitors our product quality systems and criteria must grow and penetrate previously autonomous industries.
The pharmaceutical industry for several years has been actively integrating QA/QC practices and principles in its engineered projects. This has been due to several major pressures. First, the critical nature of the industry product. Second, the public visibility and potential catastrophic scope of severe plant malfunctions. Last, and probably most profound, the adoption of good manufacturing practice laws by the FDA in response to past industry problems. These regulations have proven to be effective but extremely costly in both compliance and administration.
The point of my letter is to give weight to the position that QA/QC must become more of an integral part of the engineering or construction industry and the discipline of project management. This must, in my opinion, be done within the industry through selfregulation or else risk the promulgation and creation of federal laws and agencies to oversee the development of QA/QC in private and public engineered projects. In other words, “Physician, heal thyself or thy Uncle will do it for you.”
I am very interested in the concept of QA/QC in engineered projects, especially high technology applications. Please let me know what I can do to help you champion this need.
J. Mark Patrick
Quality Assurance Manager
The Quality Management Function
Quality Management is the assembly of a quality datum for the project and implementation of measures which assure accomplishment within the standards of the client and the practices of the office.
PRODUCT — The end objective.
Alternatives — Variations on quality to be considered.
Trade-Offs — Selection of quality alternatives to maintain balance of time, cost, function and form.
Specifications — Describing the expected quality.
Performance — The ability to meet standards.
DESIGN — Laying down means to an end.
Technical aspects — Application of technical standards and approved practices.
Practical Aspects — Application of practical experience within practical limits.
Production — Standards of written and drawn documentation.
Technical Supervision — Monitoring role to assure maintenance of expected quality.
Coordination — A liaison effort to assure integrity of the design.
IMPLEMENTATION — Assurance of quality during execution.
Organization — Establishment of people, responsibilities, authority and procedures.
Alternatives — Variations on means of implementation to be considered.
Inspection — Legal and/or practical examinations in relation to specification.
Testing — Examinations according to standards in relation to specifications.
Trials — The process of testing the completed project to assure specified performance.
Workmanship — Individual craftsmanship and performance.
Acceptance — A process for delivery of the product and takeover by the user.
SERVICES — The actions rendered by the people involved in the project.
Project Manager — The lead individual and the management group.
Organization — The structuring of people to perform the functions of the tasks.
Level of Q.C. Effort — Degree of control necessary to achieve specified performance.
Time — Procedural standards.
Cost — Procedural standards.
Accounting — Procedural standards.
Documentation — Procedural standards.
Contracting — Procedural standards.
Team — All participants in the project.
Client — The sponsor.
Consultants — Specialized members with professional status.
Contractors — Specialized members with financial risk involvement.
Users — Those to whom the product will be delivered and who will perform whatever function the product is designed for.
Professional bodies — An influential organization impacting upon the quality of the product and the performance.
External Agencies — An influential organization impacting upon the quality of the product and the performance, often in the public interest.
A.C. “Fred” Baker
Carolina Power & Light Co.
411 Fayetteville Street
Raleigh, NC 27602
Tel: (919) 836-7932
Thomas V. Gearing
Southern New England
Automatic Data Processing
Network Services Division
One Corporate Center Suite 1700
Hartford, CT 06103
Tel: (203) 527-2878
Proctor & Gamble Company
Winton Hill Technical Center
6105 Center Hill Road
Cincinnati, OH 45224
Tel: (513) 659-6812
AV Bulnes 123/22
Tel: 728283 - Santiago
Tel: 2299000 X 227 - Santiago
Dr. Franklin Johnston,
P.O. Box 273
Kingstom, 10 Jamaica
Telex: EXPRM 2124
Nippon Plant Technology
205 Claire Togozaka
Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan
Executive Director, INFOTEC
San Lorenzo 153 Col. Del Valle-Benito Juarez
Mexico 12, D.F.
Apdo. Postal 19-194
Col. Mixcoac-Benito Juarez
03910 Mexico, D.F.
Telex: 1777569 Infome