Tools and techniques used for quality planning
Let us now see some of the tools and techniques used for quality planning. They are:
Cost /benefit analysis: This is an analysis of the cost effectiveness of different alternatives in order to see whether the benefits outweigh the costs. A cost benefit analysis is done to determine how well, or how poorly, a planned action will turn out. Knowing the benefits of meeting quality requirements makes tasks more meaningfully and successful. The four major benefits are:
- Less rework.
- Higher productivity.
- Lower costs.
- Better customer.
Using this technique the project manager weighs the benefits versus the costs of meeting quality requirement.
Cost of quality: Cost of quality includes all costs incurred over the life of the product. This is divided into two categories cost of conformance and cost of non-conformance. Prevention costs and appraisal costs fall under cost of conformance. Internal failure and external failure costs fall under cost of non conformance. Prevention costs is cost related to things that an organisation does to prevent quality issues. The quality of material used for producing a product has a significant affect on the quality of the product. The right supplier who will provide what is needed for a project will be determined by a supplier evaluation, but it is also very important to inspect the actual deliveries. In-process product inspection is a form of appraisal that makes sure production is following the plan. Internal failures are those that occur before the product is delivered, internal failure cost is mainly associated with scrap and rework. External failures are errors that occur after a product has been delivered to a customer. The cost for repair is in accordance with product warranty obligations. External failure may also result in liability costs that are very expensive.
Benchmarking: Benchmarking is the technique, used to compare the actual or current project processes and practices to those past projects, which are similar in nature or are set as standard. Benchmarking is about looking at past projects to get ideas for improvement on the current project and deciding on the best practices and to provide a basis to use in measuring quality performance. The benchmarking process also involves understanding the processes of world-class companies by searching through existing clues, finding leads and following up on those leads. It is the process of comparing the performance of one company against another that is best. The reason for benchmarking is twofold. It helps in goal setting and process development and helps to know your organisation, know your competitors, and hence helps you define and integrate the best processes into your organisation. It gives an understanding of any errors in the current scenario based on past experience. It helps to improve customer satisfaction.
Flow charting: A flow chart is a graphical representation that displays and describes the process as a sequential flow of operations. The objective is to understand the process and know what to measure and control at each point of the process. In any process/flow diagram, the number of key steps and activities should be limited in order to focus on vital activities/ milestones. The flowcharting technique is commonly used in quality management. It shows the interrelationship between various elements of a system.
Design of experiments: It is an analytical technique which helps to determine which variable has the most influence on the overall outcome. It refers to a structured, planned method, used to find the relationship between different factors. Sir Ronald A. Fisher coined this method in the 1920s and 1930. Ten or twenty experiments are designed where the applicable factors vary methodically. The results of these experiments are then analysed to classify optimal conditions, to find factors that have most influence on the quality and those that do not. The technique is applied most often to product of the project issues. It can also be applied to project management issues such as cost and schedule trade-offs. It is a statistical method, which allows you to systematically change all of the important factors in a process and see which combination has a lower impact on the project. For example, the cost of employing a senior will be more than employing a junior engineer, but one can expect the assigned work to complete in less time. This technique is faster and more accurate than changing the variables one at a time.
Control charts: Control charts are diagrammatic representation used to monitor project parameters like cost variance, schedule variance etc. They are used to see if the project processes are within acceptable limit or any actions required. They depict whether the samples are within normal and acceptable limits.