The idea of quality assurance is a profound concept, one can take it on one’s own or try to exercise it on a project, accountability, governance, self-governance (also known as cybernetics), and a curious relationship involving two opposites, present themselves. I’d like to state the very concise and accessible definition of quality (on projects environments) here: how to meet the future actualized performance of a system (a design, equipment or a plant), given an earlier set of requirements?
In Project Management, we say, of course we can meet a given set of requirements of a client. So the commissioned contractor goes about work and comes at the end (or during the process) to the client and places the finished work on the table, this is what you asked. Cartoons and comics have been created to portray the amount of disconnect between what was asked and what was offered. Chances are you’ve seen a few examples or you know the irony of the process through your own experience. A contractor wants to deliver a job to the satisfaction of the Client, some contractors won’t, they just want to get through the contract, it’d be a transaction to them. The lessons to be learned from the industry is that contractors (I am speaking to project managers), want to keep stay relevant to the business and unless they have access to a big pool of new clients, they need to care about would this level of workmanship in the finished product keep this customer happy?
What we do in practice is that we inform the Client of how we will be performing the work, from the start to the end. We tell Client that we have an organized and well thought through management plan, reflecting how the job is going to be taken up and delivered successfully (or with success criteria) during the process and at the end. The finding of the world, plans and thinking through of the process is either cumbersome or sketchy. Or, the contractor commits to a written plan which looks like through and well thought off, but fails to meet their own self-declared plans. What to do?
Enter Quality Assurance: it is an accountability issue about will you be able to meet the promises made and have means and tools to measure how well, you’d be meeting those promises along the whole execution and delivery of project? It is a question for the project manager to self -reflect. I do think about these issues.