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PRINCE2 - Quality review technique part 2



Steps in a formal quality review procedure

The key feature is the quality review meeting amongst other activities.

There are 3 basic steps:



Preparation

  • Confirming that the product is ready for review
  • Confirm the availability of reviewers
  • Agree with them on the dates for the return of comments
  • Distribute a copy of the product (or make available for inspection) and its Product Description
  • Assessment of the product against the quality criteria
  • Entry of questions or suspected errors on a question list
  • Annotation of minor errors (for example, grammar and spelling) on the product
  • Return of the annotated product and question list to the producer
  • A plan of the review meeting and agreement on the agenda

Review meeting

  • Discussion, clarification and agreement on each of the points raised by the reviewers
  • Agreement of the follow-up action of each agreed error
  • Documentation of the follow-up responsibilities
  • Summary of the actions at the end of the meeting
  • Agreement of the quality review outcome, and sign-off of the product, if appropriate
  • Update of the Quality Log

Follow-up

  • Notification to the Project and / or Team Manager of the quality review result
  • A plan of any remedial work that is required
  • Sign-off of the product following successful remedial work
  • Update of the Quality Log

The detailed job contents for the above steps are described in the files:

‘preparation step.doc’
‘review meeting step.doc’
‘follow-up step.doc’

These are part of the product package.

Quality review planning

There should be input from the Project Assurance function.

  • To identify the products that will be subject to review
  • Planning the timescale for each quality review
  • Identifying the reviewers and adding to the resource plans

This is part of the Planning (PL) process and is carried out when creating the Stage or Team Plan.

Quality review results

The chairperson should get consensus agreement on the results of any quality review.
All reviewers must agree to sign-off a product against the criteria if not it will not be ready for use.
If contention exists, that cannot be resolved, then another meeting will be required as a follow-up item.

If the issue may affect another product it should be raised as a Project Issue and recorded on the follow-up action list.

The outcome of any quality review will normally be one of three options:

  1. The product is approved immediately as being error free
  2. Approval is delayed until identified errors are corrected and signed-off
  3. Error correction will radically alter the product and it will need reviewing again

The chairperson may postpone the meeting if:

  • There are insufficient reviewers present to cover the quality issues addressed by the product’s quality criteria
  • Those reviewers that do attend are not qualified to comment on the issues being addressed
  • It is clear that the reviewers have not studied the product during the preparation step
  • It becomes obvious that the product is not fit to be reviewed

Key criteria

There are key points that must be addressed before a quality review can proceed.

  • Have the product quality criteria been specified?
  • Have the reviewers seen the product and the Product Description?
  • Has the product been fully checked prior to the meeting by the reviewers?
  • Have the question lists been sent to the producer or review chairperson prior to the review meeting?
  • Has the meeting focused on error detection rather than error fixing or redesign?
  • Have the follow-up actions been documented and allocated?
  • Have reviewers been asked which changes they wish to sign-off?
  • Has agreement been reached on the result of the quality review?

The quality review is there for error identification and not correction.

The meeting should not be side tracked by considering solutions. There may be more than one anyway.
Any solutions suggested should be noted for later action.

This process will benefit from a ‘no blame’ culture. The aim is not to find fault with the producer but just to identify errors in the product.
Comments should be addressed to the ‘product’ and not to the producer by using phrases such as ‘your product’.

Reviewers should identify major questions or suspected errors on a question list, annotating the product (document) with minor errors and informing the chairperson. If this is not done there it could waste time for those present at the meeting and leave some errors undiscovered.

The presence of checklists is advisable.
These are useful in general but must exist for the product criteria if the Product Description does not yet exist.

Managers attending quality review meetings are not there to represent and defend their staff just to identify product errors.

Ideally, the chairperson should be present just to run the meeting and should not get involved with the review itself.

Non attendance

On occasion key people will be unable to attend a meeting.

Some options should be considered:

  • The chairperson can accept written questions and other comments from the individual
  • The chairperson can request another person to attend
  • If absence means there is not enough people for an effective meeting or key skills are missing then the meeting should be postponed
  • Sometimes reviewers are not well prepared or may not have submitted a question list. In this case the meeting may be postponed
  • The Project Manager may hold the meeting with the chairperson and the producer after asking reviewers to submit their question lists.
  • If this happens the reviewers must sign-off on any actions resulting from their submitted questions.

In such a situation the producer should take the role of scribe as it can be very distracting for the other members.

If a review identifies an error in another product it should be noted and closed once it has been transferred as a Project Issue.

Should any deficiencies be identified in the quality standards being used they will need review to make sure they suitable for the product under review.

Non - PRINCE2 information

This product contains EVERYTHING in the publications:

Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2 - 2005 edition
Managing successful Projects with PRINCE2 – 2009 edition
Directing Projects with PRINCE2.
plus:
The Complete Project Management package.

And much more besides - at a fantastic price.