Today, more than ever, the entrepreneurial spirit is all over and many people come up with businesses and projects. Project quality management is about managing for good quality outcomes. Most projects regress to the independent collection of statistics or the counting of problems post delivery while quality management is something done by the project manager and the project team from the very start of the project. “It requires a mind set, a determination to produce good quality outputs all along the way” . It is obvious that inadequate investment in quality management results in excessive additional costs due to poor project quality; a lot of money spent to fix problems afterwards adding to customers’ unhappiness as well as reputation damage for the project and possibly its sponsors.
In order to avoid all the negative effects mentioned above that are likely to occur if quality management is not in place, companies and project managers have to invest in proper quality frameworks and integrated quality controls throughout the project cycle . This measure will enhance customer and stakeholder satisfaction, improvement of revenues (if it is a profit organization) and lower project costs.
What can we consider quality in this paper? The Latin saying, de gustibus non est disputandum , or even one man’s meat is another man’s poison, these sayings tell us that likes are relative. Quality can also be a relative thing; however, when we design our project we have customers and stakeholders in mind. Based on this, we can say here that “quality means delivering what the customer asked for (or if you’re really clever what the customer actually wanted, despite what he asked for)” . Quality has to satisfy the stakeholders by meeting the intended objectives and targets on time and budget.
This paper will look at various issues in project quality management relating to how some projects in Northern Mozambique are managing quality in their implementation.
Description and General Analysis
To manage quality in projects is to take a holistic approach in its measures, which means doing everything right. Good project quality management implies (i) having a well defined project scope, (ii) having good estimates and realistic, (iii) the team understand the "manufacturing process" or implementation process (i.e. development lifecycle), (iv) specific quality checking tasks are built into the plan , (v) properly defined requirements, (vi) a complete and correct design document, (vi) change is controlled (change tends to introduce errors), (vii) progress is monitored and controlled, (viii) the team have clear quality incentives, (ix) and a long list of possible risks that have to continually be monitored.
The above mentioned is basically intending to say that quality will only be good if the project as a whole is well managed. Trying to inject some stand-alone quality management, quality assurance, or quality control techniques into a badly run project is unlikely to be successful.
Historically, product quality has played an important part of how a company or an organization operates. High quality products or services improve customer satisfaction, which leads to increased profits. Today, a competitive marketplace puts high demand on an organization's ability to bring products and services to market quickly.
Mozambique is at a stage where supplies are not enough. The majority of the people just need the basic conditions for survival regardless of its quality. Because of this, most organizations and companies have opted to reduce focus on quality in order to bring products and services to market on a more rigorous schedule. This approach has systematically led many companies toward a downward spiral that worsens over time in a time that considerable number of people is starting to look at not just the product or service but also its quality. The cost of customer dissatisfaction, product performance, and rework negatively affects project budgets, schedules, and overall enterprise revenue. The downward spiral is increasingly exacerbating because most companies and organizations do not have established processes to maintain quality standards of outsourcers.
There are many quality problems experienced in most organizations working in Northern Mozambique. Let us take the example of TEXMOC (Texteis de Moçambique), which is the only textile factory, in Northern Mozambique, but it does not meet people’s expectations as far as quality is concerned.
Customer dissatisfaction – One big problem experienced by TEXMOC is the inability of the project manager to properly set quality expectations, and clearly communicate and demonstrate how requirements are incorporated and presented in the project's output. Customers, who are mostly women , are not happy with the quality of the textiles produced by TEXMOC. Despite of the constant complaints, the production managers does not ensure that all involved parties (i.e., customers and stakeholders) are on the same page, and maintain open lines of communication and a unified direction.
Loss of revenue – Unfortunately because of the above dissatisfaction, TEXMOC is paying out for inefficiency through loss of market share, product delays and rework. It seems that they have yet come to understand that having good quality management is to improve the way a business operates and to minimize revenue loss. Right now, most of the textiles worn by women in Nampula are imported mostly from Tanzania and other regions of the country. What TEXMOC fail to realize is that market competition is steadily increasing and they find themselves without time or money to pay for project rework. Good project quality management enables scarce and high-demand resources to focus more on efforts to help drive business to the company. With quality controls in place, project success increases dramatically and enables products to be brought to market on time. TEXMOC should establish and measure project quality to ensure continued success and return on value (ROV).
Missed project expectations – A thorough look at TEXMOC brings home the understanding that there have not been in place quality controls from the onset of the undertaking. Without established quality controls, project output can easily miss customer expectations and business targets. Those companies that only perform a quality check at project completion often fail to meet project objectives and strategic goals. Judging from the way project managers used to be appointed in the time of one party ruling, it seems that TEXMOC’s manager is a politically appointee and does not seem to having idea on how to keep project efforts aligned with project targets, by establishing major quality checkpoints and taking corrective action throughout the project life cycle.
Poor utilization of resources – TEXMOC’s poor project quality negatively affects its capabilities to utilize project resources effectively. Furthermore, poor utilization of resources is negatively affecting the company's bottom line, customer and stakeholder satisfaction and upcoming projects. Like all the companies that do not resolve this problem, TEXMOC runs a high risk of great financial failure; in fact it is bankrupt already. It is not paying its employees for the last 4 months and other inside problems. It is not that resources are scarce; the problem is poor alignment of resource which results in project failure, whereas proper resource allocation can turn a poor project into a successful outcome.
Rework – Managers should be very attentive persons. Always on the look out of what goes on internally as well as externally. Proper and adequate project planning is not standard protocol for most companies. As a result, projects frequently require significant rework and, in some cases, are scrapped as complete failures. Initial project investments are lost, schedules are missed, other projects are affected and resources are further constrained. The bottom line is affected as project costs are doubled or tripled from initial project forecasts. TEXMOC looks like it lacked the creativity of the executives. This problem reoccurred as a result of company bureaucracy. Steps to build a case for standardized project rework processes, and gain approval before corrective actions can be implemented all these were not done at TEXMOC. “To build this case, project managers may have to calculate the overall cost as a result of rework and other associated costs derived from poor quality, pinpoint problem areas and demonstrate how new procedures can improve the bottom line. Although there is a lot of upfront work to be done, approval of new procedures can positively affect organizational operations and stakeholder satisfaction” .
Quality management must permeate all systems at all levels. Deming and Juran propose Total Quality Management (TQM) as an all-pervading system of continuous improvement of products (and services) that came to prominence in the USA during World War 2. Deming, a statistician, developed monitoring processes that attempted to reduce wastage. He persuaded industry to re-examine production processes in order to build in quality and thereby reduce rejection rates. As a result, wartime productivity and quality rose. Later on, TQM concepts were enthusiastically embraced by Japanese companies, eager to enter world markets. It has been well documented how, by the 1960s and 70s, through wholehearted adoption of Total Quality principles, the reputation of Japanese goods was transformed. TQM has been the root from which numerous offshoots have branched: Total Quality Control (TQC), Statistical Process Control (SPC) and Statistical Quality Control (SQC) being the more notable
Success is far more likely to happen in companies/organizations that carry out proper analysis and full overhaul of existing systems. They place customer service and continuous improvement systems at the centre of all value adding operations, and are able to demonstrate quality improvements with concomitant improvements in production and decrease in costs.
Most organizations and companies in Northern Mozambique do not have in place the 5 broad categories of quality management, but today’s demand for quality products urge most of the managers to look for ways of ensuring and guarantying quality. Managers are more and more interested in quality and so the five categories and their requirements are practiced.
- Quality Management System – in this category, there are general requirements as well as general documentation of the whole enterprise.
- Management Responsibility – here we look at the management commitments, customer focus, quality policies, planning, administration and management review.
- Resource Management – we look at the provision of resources, including human resources, facilities and work environment.
- Process Management – in this category, we look and analyze the planning of processes, customer-related processes, design and/or development, purchasing, production and service operation ending with control of measuring and monitoring devices.
- Measurement, Analysis and Improvement – this category involves looking at the Planning itself, Measuring and monitoring, control and non conformity, analysis of data and improvement.
These categories and their requirements are also integrated in the Business Excellence Model with specific addition of “partnership” as an enabling process as well as result. This model looks like this:
Partnerships are about how organizations use external capabilities and resources through networking with other agents in support of their policies and strategies. We can still see in the above chart that there are some modifications that include: the linking of knowledge to people, a new focus on the innovation and learning feeding back from results. It is also clear that there is an emphasis on customer focused processes. There is also a change of terminology from “business results” to “organizational performance” so that public and not-for-profit sectors are included in the standard’s scope.
In quality management, there is also the aspect of assessing changes. A continuous change assessment has to be done in order to make sure that quality is not compromised. This assessment can be done using certain criteria. The approach to assessment and self-assessment against the criteria has been rationalizes to try to make the model more flexible and easily applicable to organizations of all types. These changes deal with approach, which is about how the organization’s approach to each criterion is developed; Deployment, how this approach is deployed; assessment and review, it is about how the approach and deployment are assessed and reviewed. Each result has two sub-criteria now dealing with perception measurements, performance measurements except for organizational performance which have financial measurements and overall measurements.
Discussion and Actualization
The case of TEXMOC is one among many in Northern Mozambique if not most of developing countries. Most enterprises in Mozambique are set up to satisfy the demand of products and/or services without considering the quality aspect of this services or products. There are no predefinition of the quality criteria for major pieces of work when doing the planning. The “habit” of getting work independently checked to make sure the organization meets the quality criteria has not taken part of most managers’ checklist in this part of the world. However, donor’s demand for quality investment of their funds is increasingly demanding much more from managers in terms of quality management. This lack of habit for quality management is costing a lot to most organizations and companies.
One of quality assessment methods is to use people who can really make contribution (asking people just to check one aspect of a piece of work or make the whole deliverable). This kind of assessment takes place in most organizations including at TEXMOC, but there is doubt whether those involved in the review have specialist knowledge or experience to offer, or have a vested interest. Objectivity in the review is something that raises lot of doubts in an environment where political connections count a lot and not so much objectivity.
It is difficult to have access to organizations’ report over here. Reviewing quality can be as simple as circulating a draft paper or report and asking for comments before finishing it. Managers are so much afraid of criticism, especially at TEXMOC that they do not giving for report sharing and comments. It can be good idea to meet to go through the comments with reviewers. This avoids ambiguity and focuses on constructive comments which help the project.
The question at this point is: what should one do if a Deliverable does not meet the required standard? This means that the preventive measures were not followed or even they were not effective or appropriate. There can be many reasons for that, but one will need to decide whether he/she can live with its shortcomings, or whether he/she will need to take remedial action. There is a need to think through the knock-on effect of the decision.
Quality management in a project or organization is all that is needed so as to identify systematic failures and take appropriate action to curb the situation. Quality management helps to monitor and evaluate progress in organization. When quality measures are not in place, we experience outcomes like the ones verified at TEXMOC in Nampula.
The American statistician and management consultant, W. Edwards Deming, believes that problems with quality are the result of variability in the production or service process. For Deming, variability was the result of things that go wrong simply because no process is perfect. There could be a slight undetected change in the raw material being used, a slight human error, etc. He suggested that through the use of statistics and other analytical tools, the source of the variability could be identified and eliminated. He called this as management’s responsibility: to ensure the analysis and problem solving necessarily to eliminate or at least minimize variability.
To achieve an organization that is consistently producing high-quality goods and services, Deming recommended a fourteen-point program . Not surprisingly, “Deming’s response to the question of how to improve the organization’s performance is similar to the Japanese management response: Focus on quality, continuously seek to reduce the variability that is the cause of a lack of quality, and engage the entire organization in seeking continuously to build quality into the process” .
Deming has a point; we can tag the bankruptcy of most organizations and companies in Mozambique to lack of focus on quality.
Five crucial questions suggested by J. Grenny, Maxfield and Shimberg are worth remembering managers who want to engage in quality management for success in Mozambique:
- Are we Planning Around Facts? – this is a very important question to be looked at and pondered. What really happens over is that project leaders under pressure form various stakeholders determine deadlines, scope, deliverables and budget with little or no regard for the hard facts about what will actually be required. At other times, they base their estimates on facts, only to have the estimates ignored. In either case, the result is a set of project parameters and goals that is unrealistic from the beginning. The fact of the matter is that success of failure is not determined by whether project teams are pressured to make unrealistic commitments (as happens most of the time), but whether those teams are able to confront, discuss and manage the phenomenon effectively.
- Is the Project Sponsor Providing Support? – Project teams often need support and resources from leaders who are senior to them. When one of these leaders fails to come through as required, the team may need to involve its sponsor. Project sponsors are responsible for providing leadership and political support to ensure that the project succeeds. However, what often happens here is the absence of the sponsors, which makes the project miss on quality.
- Are we faithful to the process? – Powerful stakeholders and senior leaders often avoid the formal decision-making, planning and prioritization processes. They need what they need and do not want to be burdened with practical considerations. So they work around the process. The result is always outrageous over commitment, disappointment and burnout. Projects are getting approved for which there are no resources. Scope creep boats approved projects far beyond the resources originally budgeted. And team members deliver a succession of disappointing results and suffer from battered morale. Consequently quality is compromised.
- Are we honestly accessing our progress and risks? – Once a project gets underway, it can derail when various sub-teams or team members fail to report project risks honestly. More than half of project managers say they face this regularly. Project participants often fail to admit they may fall short on deliverables and need more time, instead hoping that some other group that has problems will speak up first. The team loses opportunities to respond to problems gracefully by revising goals, shifting resources or reorganizing plans. Instead, the project staggers forward on a collision course with failure while everyone watches – nervously but silently. Again, quality is compromised.
- Are team members pulling their weight? – Most project leaders report being hobbled by team members who do not show up to meetings, fail to meet schedules or lack the competence to meet ambitious goals. Often these leaders have no say in selecting or replacing non-performers and feel powerless to coach them. Instead, they ignore their deficiencies and “work around” the problems.
These five points are often ignored by many managers. The good news is that one out of five do practice and take advantage out of it. Thinking in quality management is to engage in a holistic approach in all the project management stages.
Globalization is affecting hard our country. The regional integration of the Southern Africa will start in January 2008. The eleven countries that form the Southern African region will open its borders for trade reasons, and Mozambique has no other way out apart from improving the quality of its products and services. Global competition requires that a “product or service be of word-class quality if the organization producing it is to succeed” . The famous comment by one executive that “quality is the ticket into the stadium” brought home the message that quality alone is not enough to ensure success, but without quality there’s no use even trying to compete.
With a lot of entrepreneurs in the country, they have to adhere to the expanding influence of the idea that improving performance goes hand in hand with improving quality and this means managing quality. “Deming suggested that most of our organizations are not set up to focus on the variability that is the real enemy of quality. In his approach, real improvement in organizational performance only becomes possible when management fully commits to the very difficult transformation necessary to make quality an organization’s number-one priority” .
TEXMOC and other Mozambican organizations and companies need to make quality as number-one priority if they are to face the regional trade integration positively and take advantage of it.
Managers should therefore invest in establishing good quality control for projects, to improve process enhancements, production time, and staff efficiency. To help turn things around, senior executives should evaluate opportunities to increase product quality by reducing the cost derived as a result of poor quality. Most companies already know that in the long run, costs incurred from poor quality are significantly higher than the cost of establishing good quality upfront. Yet, this approach is not a common practice for many organizations. To keep project costs inline, managers and senior executives should determine an acceptable level of quality needed to optimize customer satisfaction and product efficiency, while keeping project costs at a reasonable level. However, before starting this initiative, executives must secure senior management support to promulgate the significance of project quality to the rest of the organization. Without senior management's commitment and buy-in, executives will face long and hard political battles with line of business (LOB) executives who resist anything that requires increased expenditures. It is extremely important here, where political connections matter a lot in terms of decision-making and change of organizational policies. This is especially important when new requirements affect in-progress projects. In these scenarios, executives should help the invested parties determine an optimal way to incorporate changes. Executives and project managers should provide options on how the new changes can be incorporated (e.g., project phasing), and identify the risks associated with the changes to help ensure continued quality.
Conducting peer reviews and self-reviews are common practice to keep efforts on target. Executives should also consider involving customers and stakeholders to review the project prior to deadlines for all major deliverables. It is more so for TEXMOC in Nampula. TEXMOC’s CEO and project managers must ensure that actions in the company are coordinated along with proper quality controls that are integrated within a holistic project management approach.
There must be a project quality framework and quality processes that are flexible to cater to unexpected project changes such as project requirements, scope, staffing needs and time constraints. Furthermore, the quality program should take into consideration the project's complexity and risk. Project managers should also demonstrate where poor quality hurts the business, and how good quality can increase company revenue. To help build the business case for establishing a quality program, executives and managers should focus on and demonstrate how quality affects the business’ financial performance.
Conducting a thorough audit is another way of controlling quality. Project managers and senior management should collaborate to identify and determine acceptable levels and the components of acceptable quality levels. Moreover, they should ensure costs are balanced to optimize the project quality and return. This should be done in profit organizations, like TEXMOC and other companies.
We believe that appropriate quality controls and standards are integrated with project management processes and business operations, exponential benefits can be derived. Though it may be hard to justify initially, senior management plays a significant role in driving and implementing proper quality standards into project management practices. CEOs and their managers must be able to demonstrate and justify the need for quality control and standards to decrease project rework, failure and unnecessary costs due to poor quality.
Managers should also demonstrate and provide examples of how good quality practices can help the business enhance customer and stakeholder satisfaction, improve sales, increase competitiveness and positively affect the bottom line. As more quality standards are integrated with project management practices, project success rates will increase while costs and defects will decrease. Managers at TEXMOC have to follow this particular recommendation in order to improve sales and prepare themselves for the regional integration that is due to happen from January 2008. Otherwise, countries like South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana will suffocate local weak industries and companies.
Managers have to know their tasks fully in order to manage quality in their projects. This implies that managers have a full knowledge of their environment; for that the Integrated Organization Model (IOM) can be used. This model comprises of a number of external and internal elements. The external elements: mission, outputs, external factors and external actors describe the environment of the organization or have strong relations with this environment. The internal elements: strategy, structure, style, staff motivation and culture, describe the internal organizational choices.
Monitoring and control measures should be in place and able to check on each and everyone of the above elements. A manager will need to check whether the achievement of the objectives is processing and if this is done in an efficient and effective way. For this reason a manager needs to build and use a monitoring and evaluation systems, covering personnel, physical and financial aspects. Especially to monitor staff it is important to possess appropriate communication, coaching and negotiations skills. This is what is usually summarized as the monitoring and control functions.
Quality can be defined from the perspective of the customer and the enterprise. For many companies, there are innumerable reasons for poor quality. For example, some companies lack an established definition for quality, processes to ensure alignment of customer expectations with project output, or quality checks at the end of each project phase before starting the next project stage. Managers should therefore audit and assess current project management processes and quality control levels to help pinpoint existing quality problems.
This effort should help Managers identify activities and costs that are derived as a direct result of poor quality. For example, one could calculate the total cost consumed for a project and subtract from that number the amount of resources used to remediate a problem. This would provide a great example of the number of defects and the cost to correct these defects. Managers should analyze audit results, and develop and prioritize recommendations and solutions to fix quality issues.
It is about time that managers are chosen according to merit in Mozambique. Many organizations and companies are managed by people who have no previous management preparation. They manage by trial and error. Some of them learn and improve though with a lot of slows to the targets, and most of them are a complete disaster. Organizations have to look for managers who understand all the projects phases within the project cycle. Managers who understand that for each phase the activities and persons or organizations involved have to be described. Most importantly, for each phase managers have to be able to put in place quality checks. This quality checks must be in place within the project cycle .
When mistakes have been done as it is the case of TEXMOC in Nampula, managers have to adopt a learning approach. Quality management requires a Learning Approach, a Project Cycle Management (PCM) approach. One of the hot issues today is to be a learning organization. Learning from negative experiences, it seems difficult, yet this is precisely one of the objectives of the PCM approach. The introduction of an improved way/system of working will only yield better results when the organization has the capacity to learn from its mistakes or unsatisfied results. We do understand that large organizations often find it difficult to learn, as it takes too much time and effort, especially in development co-operation where there are even more than one organization involved in the chain of activities. Still, it is important that organizations undertake changes based on negative experiences. The effort should take place in a coherent strategy for continuous learning: review of project results and analyzing what went wrong or what went well, including proper (inter-organizational) feedback mechanisms. Then this analysis must be translated into improved procedures, required staff and management qualities.
Attention must be put in key elements of the organization in order to guarantee quality:
- Inputs – managers have to have control and know the human resources needed, material resources, financial resources and their quality and time.
- Throughput – activities and their quality, actors involved, time, use of resources and respect of procedures.
- Outputs – target group, results (services, goods, etc), time, quality
- Reaction – what do people do with the output offered?
- Impact – foreseen and unforeseen side effects (positive and negative, short and long term)
- Context – assumptions and risks as well as changing environment.
If these aspects are thoroughly managed, we shall have an organization that has Proof of Performance to demonstrate project progress to internal and external partners (target group, donors, etc); Learning (organizational) for implementing organization and other involved, which allows permanent adjustment and improvement of provided output/results; Transparency: here we talk about the need for reliable information for legitimization of action towards actors involved (target group, donor, etc); Feedback Mechanism between different actors involved (e.g. project team and target group) generating inspiration, motivation, best practices for further work; and all these will result in Policy Advise in which the project provide decision-makers with better information leading to improved design and implementation (impact monitoring).
If we look particularly at the regional integration to which Mozambique will take part, we have to advise our managers and executives on guidelines for Global Success. Given the range of possible options for participating in the global marketplace, there is no simple recipe, no single set of guidelines for managing success in foreign markets. Still, observers who have followed the efforts of companies at every phase of “going global” suggest that the success stories in foreign markets do have several ingredients in common. These ingredients are: (a) Learn the culture – doing things the way the locals do; (b) Customize the product or service – modify and adapt the products or services to meet the preferences of customers in foreign markets; (c) Recognize the risks – moving globally has its own risks that can compromise the quality of the deliverables. The three important sources of risks are: (i) political stability and efficiency of the government, (ii) the infrastructure, including distribution systems, transportation and communication systems and the availability of professional support in term of computer and information systems, (iii) Managerial considerations, including the availability of skilled and productive workforce, the ability to enforce contracts and the availability of reliable suppliers; (d) Exercise Patience and persistence – it takes time to succeed in global marketplace and to learn another country’s culture and consumer preferences, thus patience and persistence pays .
More than anything else, Mozambique needs policies that address quality. In order to guarantee quality in companies and organizations, the government should design laws that demand for quality in services and products. The “Company Quality”, for example, could be a powerful tool to urge companies and organizations to bet on quality. Developed in the 1980s, the concept of “company quality” focuses on management and people. This concept brought to the realization that if all departments in a company or organization approached quality with an open mind, success was possible if the management led the quality improvement process.
The company-wide quality approach places an emphasis on three aspects:
- Elements such as controls, job management, adequate processes, performance and integrity criteria and identification of records;
- Competence such as knowledge, skills, experience, qualifications; Soft elements, such as personnel integrity, confidence, organizational culture, motivation, team spirit and quality relationships.
The quality of the outputs is at risk if any of these three aspects are deficient in any way. The approach to quality management given here is therefore not limited to the manufacturing theatre only but can be applied to any business activity: Design work, Administrative services, Consulting, Banking, Insurance, Computer software, Retailing, Transportation.
It comprises a quality improvement process, which is generic in the sense it can be applied to any of these activities and it establishes a behavior pattern, which supports the achievement of quality.
This in turn is supported by quality management practices which can include a number of business systems and which are usually specific to the activities of the business unit concerned. In manufacturing and construction activities, these business practices can be equated to the models for quality assurance defined by the International Standards contained in the ISO 9000 series and the specified Specifications for quality systems .
Since in the system of Company Quality did not control the major quality problems. This led to quality assurance or total quality control, which has come into being recently and of which we talked about above. The Government of Mozambique should look critically at all the theories on quality and exchange experiences with other professional of the area.
Quality management goes hand in hand with risk management. In order to ensure quality, one needs to know how to manage risks and transform threats into opportunities. The companies and organizations in Northern Mozambique need to direct their attention to quality. Quality assurance has to be the keyword now, especially because the regional integration is going to challenge our industrial products and services. By quality assurance we mean the process by which an agency satisfies its technical and administrative performance requirements relatively free from discrepancies while meeting the user needs. Quality assurance must be a part of Mozambican organization’s culture to ensure all of its products and services are of the highest quality. This is part and parcel of project management in the process of planning, directing, and evaluating the development and implementation of a project. Risk management is an aspect of project management that entails identifying risks and developing ways to eliminate or mitigate those risks. Each of these functions must be present and actively supported in an organization to effectively direct a positive project quality outcome .
Quality Assurance Reviews have to be part of any organization in the country because it is a source of major information resources in projects in order to maximize successful outcomes. To achieve this, the following strategies are employed:
1. Identify and analyze the risks to successful project outcome.
2. Develop the appropriate management and project controls to minimize those risks.
3. Monitor the project to (a) ensure effective management and project controls are in place and utilized (b) provide information to develop models to support future project planning.
After looking at the instruments and procedures on how to manage quality, we can say that whatever the quality of instruments and procedures, they alone can never guarantee successful results. Success depends upon the sincerity and the know-how with which they are applied. Certainly the tools offered here will be valuable for those who prepare and control the implementation of projects, but only to the extent that the available information is of high quality, all responsible actors are professionals, and, last but not least, to the extent to which responsible politicians, planners, implementers as well as beneficiaries are genuinely committed and listened to.
Quality management requires a well conceptualized and framed logical framework. One of the misunderstandings that need to be addressed in this respect, is the misconception among managers in Northern Mozambique that the formulation of a logical framework is a mere formal and technocratic exercise resulting in a blue-print for a project or programme. Managers and CEOs have to know that a logical framework is the result of an analysis at a certain point in time, at a certain phase in the project cycle and it reflects the knowledge and preoccupations at that particular moment. This is a tool for quality management and evaluation; it is thus necessary to always adapt the plan to the changing situation, e.g. when a problem is solved no further action is required and the plan should be adapted but when new problems emerge then actions should be taken to improve the situation (improve quality).
The other important factor that should be taken into consideration at all phases of the project cycle is the discipline required to take the right decision at the right points in time all through the project cycle. This factor is often overlooked and/or difficult to address in an effective way in large bureaucracies of donors.
As for TEXMOC, they must adopt Total Quality Control in order to increase sales. This is because they ignored completely a very important factor, “What the customers require”. Because of this ignorance of the most important factor, a few refinements have to be introduced in the company in order to improve sales:
- Marketing department has to carry out their work properly and define the customer’s specifications;
- Specifications have to be defined to conform to these requirements;
- Conformance to specifications i.e. drawings, standards and other relevant documents, have to be introduced during manufacturing, planning and control;
- Management has to confirm all operators are equal to the work imposed on them and holidays, celebrations and deputes do not affect any of the quality levels.
- Inspections and tests have to be carried out, and all components and materials, brought in or otherwise, conformed to the specifications, and the measuring equipment is accurate, this is the responsibility of the Quality Assurance/Quality Control department;
- Any complaint received from the customers has to be satisfactorily dealt with in a timely manner.
- Feedbacks from the user/customers has to be used to review designs;
- There must be a consistent data recording and assessment and documentation integrity.
- There must be a product and/or process change management and notification.
The above forms the basis from which the philosophy of Quality Assurance has evolved, and the achievement of quality or the “fitness-for-purpose” is “Quality Awareness” throughout the company. TEXMOC and other companies facing similar problems should follow this path if it wants to survive especially in a regional market.
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