Quality Assurance is a very important part of project and programme delivery. Unfortunately, this is often overlooked or completely ignored by many PMO’s and programmes. The usual excuses are that “there is not time we are too busy delivering” followed closely by “it is bureaucratic”.
The problem with this thought process, it is great that everyone is delivering but is what is being delivered correct and fit for purpose. It would not be much fun for the programme manager and sponsor to get to the end of a 2 year programme having spent millions to find the output is incorrect (not good for the career).
The PMO can help to mitigate this risk by defining and establishing a quality assurance framework:
Tools and processes
In the simplest form, a check list that checks that the governance and tools are being used by a programme i.e. correct steering committees in place, risks and issues being captured and actively managed.
This can be as simple as sitting down with the programme manager on a regular basis and asking questions about the delivery so as to jointly identify areas of risk and construct remediation plans.
The PMO should regularly review the reports, risk / issue logs, etc being produced by the programme and ensure that they make sense, correctly reflect status, etc. They should also think about if the report highlights any risks that perhaps are not obvious to the programme and then ask questions on how they are being managed.
As well as reviewing documents, it is important that there are independent checks of the different outputs to ensure that the solution is fit for purpose. This can be done by getting other teams to conduct peer reviews of business requirement documents, testing plans, etc. Likewise where software is being developed you may wish to get independent developers to review the solution.
Quality Assurance is a very wide topic and there is no single answer. However, by establishing a framework for ongoing reviews (in a non bureaucratic way), will help build quality into the end solution.
Remember, Quality Assurance is not an audit. Make sure the programme knows you are working with them not trying to catch them out.
Quality Assurance Resources
If you would like to accelerate the implementation of a project quality assurance process, you may be interested in the Quality Assurance Framework by PM Majik.
This framework provides all of the tools, templates and guides to implement a project quality assurance process and executive reporting. The assurance review teamplate comes pre-populated with 120 ready to use review questions!
For more information visit Quality Assurance Framework.