Project quality management provides a wide structure to identify quality standards and requirements, implementing quality assurance and control activities and taking suitable decisions for project improvement. The purpose of this research was to investigate project quality management (QM) planning practiced in Information Technology (IT) projects. Another aim was to determine, a proper quality planning (QP) standard framework that should be implemented in IT projects. A deep investigation was carried out on past and current researches to identify the real QM planning dimensions. Subsequently related questions were developed and surveys were conducted on several organizations. The results revealed that majority of the organizations are not practicing the entire important dimensions in QP phase because of lack awareness among the employees. Overall the best practices or standards in these QM planning should be practiced to maintain quality IT projects.
Information technology is the key to all industries and therefore every software application should be delivered with zero defects. In any software development application, quality management (QM) performs a risky balancing act that takes cost, time and risk factors into consideration (Lagerström et al., 2012).
If something goes wrong then it needs to face issues ranging from unsustainable costs and unhappy clients, to a massive recall or the complete failure of a system at a critical moment. If everything turns up well then one can achieve a positive operational return on investment from efficiencies gained in development activities. This ensures successful project execution, in line with the customer’s desires, product specifications and quality expectations (MyMG, 2011).
With effective QM, one can create opportunities to deliver a valuable product and gain benefits such as improved market share, higher customer satisfaction and increased brand equity (Cohen and Chard, 2010). Many researches are conducted on QM practices and in this research; planning phase in QM will be focused.
QM Planning Standards
This research will primarily focus on adequate QP, as deficiency in planning phase restrains the victory of quality assurance and quality control efforts (Marcia et al., 2009).
There are three areas in QP such as Input, Tools & Techniques and Output. A new dimension has been introduced in Input Quality Plan.
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Figure 1.0: Input Area in QP process
Scope Baseline –This is the main input that carries the project description, major deliverables, project requirements and acceptance criteria (increase or decrease cost) (David, 2011). Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) tracks the project deliverables, task allocation and shows accountable people for the task to measure project performance (Lagerström et al., 2012).
1.2 Stakeholder Register– This document helps in recognizing stakeholders (Nelson et al., 2012) with same interest or proficiency in the requirements of particular products, as well as those with knowledge in quality encouraged to collaborate in the QP process (David, 2011; Barney et al., 2008).
1.3 Cost Performance Baseline– It is a known fact that quality and scope are closely aligned. Therefore any minor or major changes to the scope, has to be evaluated against the budget and the schedule (David, 2011).
1.4 Schedule Baseline– This performance schedule made as a baseline to measure start and end dates to monitor the quality planning, assurance and control activities (PMBOK, 2008).
1.5 Risk Register– Identifies quality-related risks particularly those relating to client acceptance. It is expected that new or modified quality-related risks will be added to this risk register as a result of QP (David, 2011; Bijlsma et al., 2012).
1.6 Enterprise Environmental Factors–Governmental or industry standards that control the QP phase are; governmental agency regulations, rules, workmanship standards, product standards and guidelines specific to the project/application area and operating conditions of the project country which may affect project quality (Pavan, 2007).
1.7 Organizational Process Assets– Quality policy which sets the intended direction of performing quality projects for example process audits, improvement targets, checklists (Poon et al., 2012) and standardized process definitions for use in the organization (Pavan, 2007). Besides, lessons learned, templates and prior similar QM plans will assist the structure, approach and content of the QM plan in delivering quality projects (David, 2011).