Application of Philip Crosby's Methods in Project Management

[article]
Member Submitted
Summary:

This article gives insight into why many organizations fail in implementing corrective measures which require only plain common sense for their solutions.

Most organizations fail to progress on the quality front just because they are unable to prevent problems from happening even when the recurring problems are not alien to them. As a result, they end up with missed deadlines and dissatisfied customers and employees.

An insight into why many organizations fail in implementing corrective measures which require only plain common sense for their solutions.

Most organizations fail to progress on the quality front just because they are unable to prevent problems from happening even when the recurring problems are not alien to them. As a result, they end up with missed deadlines and dissatisfied customers and employees.

An analysis of the causes leading to ineffective corrective actions help us to arrive at the following conclusions:

No Defined Procedures:
Even if we as managers, team members and entrepreneurs wonder why the team is committing the same mistakes again and again, we seldom take proactive steps to improve. We have even tried in vain to introduce a system for rewarding those who commit new mistakes unlike those committed in the past. The process for an effective preventive action should cover the following points:

  • Identification of perceived risks during project management reviews
  • The non-conformities reported in non-conformance reports or audits, defect logs or testing, review reports and customer complaints. Most of the customer complaints are not recorded. If we are willing to listen, these can be heard in client meetings.
  • Experiences from the past—experiences of other teams, locations who were on similar tasks, post-mortem reports of completed projects and lessons learnt from reports.

Another point to be addressed is the onus of the preventive actions. Ideally, it can be the team who is directly involved in the operation where the error has to be prevented. However, in some cases it is better to have one-man teams. If the organizational climate is right it will be a good idea if the non-conformity is published and invite volunteers for preventive actions.

When can the preventive action be called effective? Will it be effective, if non-conformance is prevented in one project? Or when it is prevented in all projects in the same location? Or when it is prevented in all projects at all locations? It is advisable to test the preventive action in one project before implementing it at on a broader scale.

Philip B Crosby's five-step methodology can be effectively deployed for implementing preventive actions. The five steps comprise:

  • Defining the problem
  • Applying a fix to the problem
  • Identifying the root causes
  • Implementing preventive action
  • Evaluating and follow-up activities

Lack Of Monitoring And Measurement:
Even if as part of a methodology, evaluation and follow-up methods are defined, it is advisable to include monitoring of preventive actions during:

  • Review of project plans to ensure that all preventive actions taken in the past and currently in progress are included either in the risk management section or operational processes of the project plans.
  • Review of the quality management system to ensure that the proofed and time-tested preventive actions are institutionalized by incorporating them into the QMS of the organization.
  • Internal and external audits.
  • Project management reviews.

Lack Of Recognition:
This appears to be the simplest as well as the most complicated factor. The challenge lies in bringing in a system to identify the best contributions. In a highly matured organization, selection by peers can be adopted. However, this can lead to negative results if the team is not matured and different factors such as informal groups and formal groups can influence the selection. The other alternatives are to have a panel of external judges or to have an internal panel with credibility.

Not Part Of Handover/Takeover Procedures:
Especially in industries where the rate of employee turnover is high or the frequency of job rotation is high, the onus of preventive action may shift along with the person responsible for the area of

About the author

Abrachan Pudussery's picture Abrachan Pudussery

Abrachan Brachan is a software engineering enthusiast. Holds a Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering. Is a certified quality analyst (CQA) and a trainer of Crosby's methodologies. Have published several articles in software engineering. Lives in the city of Bangalore, India with wife Jessy and daughter Rosanna. Can be contacted at abrachan@abrachan.com.

AgileConnection is one of the growing communities of the TechWell network.

Featuring fresh, insightful stories, TechWell.com is the place to go for what is happening in software development and delivery.  Join the conversation now!