Published here December 2019

Introduction | Overview of the Quality Models 
The Point Model | The Duality Model | The Triangle Model | The Quadrant Model
The Takeaway

The Triangle Model

My third model is really at the heart of quality project work. Processes dominate most classic thinking on quality of work and definitely belong in this model, but with much more besides.

The quality triangle is an old but wise illustration of the three fundamentals that create quality work: People, Process, and Technology (PPT). The PM uses the Triangle Model to assess project activities during detailed project planning. Given the people, processes, and technology available to the project, the PM ensures the project activities are optimized for the work to be done. This is reviewed prior to initiation of a project activity and ideally developed in collaboration with the assigned resource.

Implementation Notes

Little new development is needed to succeed with the Triangle Model. Activities and practices depend upon the application area — laying bricks differs from writing computer code. The main requirement is for the PM to maintain the discipline of planning, to search for efficiencies, and to engage with the team. Of course, checklists detailed for your organization would be useful, addressing each side of the triangle.

People: Resource assignments require the PM to consider the three main attributes; experience and track record, training requirements, behavioral and personal characteristics. The assessment is much easier if the resource has worked with the team before.

Process: Processes cover the steps followed by the team to develop, verify, validate, and approve deliverables. These are most likely defined by current best practices and the development methodology, which should include QA/QC procedures. Management may require add-ons such as ISO9000, Six Sigma, or Lean, as well as PMBOK or PRINCE2, though the best approach is to properly integrate PM with delivery of the project using methods described in Commercial Project Management. Also consider management processes that may be specified by the performing organization such as: Hiring and on-boarding processes, cost/benefit assessments, development of SORs (Statement of Role), performance management, and essential processes usually embedded in contracts such as change orders, sign-offs, and status reporting.

Technology: On larger projects, technology is often acquired for use by the team, so of course such procurements should be integrated with the project activities and the budgets managed. Ubiquitous social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Slack etc. should be assessed as aids to communication and coordination, as well as technology choices for document creation, modeling, CAD, methodology support, testing, requirements traceability, and so on.

A final note: Corporate quality policy is an ideal candidate to be expressed in PPT terms. Most such policy statements are ineffective because they lack these specifics. An employee should be able to read policy and know how he is affected. The typical "the Company believes Quality is Very Important" doesn't quite cut it. Quality always flows top-down, so if no such corporate policy exists, the PM (certainly of larger projects) would be advised to construct one specifically for the project.

The Duality Model  The Duality Model

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