Project Quality Assurance

Project quality has many facets depending on the type of project and the quality objectives. A few common metrics used are guidelines and standards.  Most people understand the difference between the two.  However, guidelines can be confused with standards.  Guidelines are just that, an idea or parameter to stay within.  Standards are a more exact objective to be met.  It is well worth while to make sure people are clear on the differences and expectations of each.  Otherwise, a small misunderstanding can be costly.  As an example, a sorting team was tasked with looking through thousands of figurines to inspect for defects.  The guideline says the figurines can have up to 3 blemishes on the front portion, no larger than 2 cm each as long as they are not on the face.  The Standard stated if there is only one blemish allowed in the facial area and they must be less than 1 cm.  Well, an entire shift didn’t understand the difference between the guidelines and standards and inadvertently allowed figurines to pass through that had single blemishes on the face up to 2 cm…double the allowed size.  This was caught during a random audit and thousands of figurines had to be re-sorted costing the company hours of productivity, not to mention money.  As cliché as it may sound, never assume anything. Communication is vital.  A simple misunderstanding can cost an entire project.

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