Careers: Project Steering and Quality
Larger-scale projects are lead by a Project Director.
They are in charge of seeing the project to achievement:
- In terms of budget
- in terms of delays (planning, milestones)
- in terms of compliance to the specifications (it has to respond to the needs)
- in terms of quality.
The project director must coordinate the work of both the Project Manager and the Project Owner.
This is the main difference from a Project Leader as the latter is only in charge of the actual handling of the project.
The project director is in charge of:
- Steering the project: Within the framework set by the Project Owner and in accordance with the project leaders, they ensure that specifications, delays, budget and quality standards are delivered.
- Forecasting possible impacts: they guarantee that the effects of changes are well taken care of every department of the company.
- Leading changes: for example in the case or a company’s redirection, mergers …
- Arbitrating of decisions: the Project Director makes all necessary decisions while complying with imperatives, objectives and constraints of the different employees and makes sure all decisions meet both the objectives and the stakes as defined by the Project Owner.
- They can also manage more than one project at a given time.
The project leader is in charge of leading the project and overseeing it to achievement.
In general, they lead and manage a team for the whole duration of the project(s) they are in charge of.
Their position requires project management skills as well as good interpersonal abilities and technical knowledge in the field of the project.
Impact of the project leader is very important in order for the project to meet success
They are in charge of:
- Structuring the project,
- Uniting teams,
- Managing schedules,
- Ensuring communication with upper management,
- Clarifying and formalizing goals
- Lastly, of organizing workshops about user needs or needs expression when starting a project, in order to also involve users.
There are several types of positions as project leader:
Assistant to the project leader: usually close to the role of a project manager or planner, they act as right-hand man to the project leader; it is thus an interesting role for a beginner.
Junior project leader: they are in charge of smaller-scale projects that are mostly limited to one department, with smaller teams.
Advanced project leader: they are in charge of larger-scale projects with larger teams.
This new role appeared together with the AGILE methodology, of which SCRUM is the most followed by CELAD customers in terms of software project achievement.
The ScrumMaster is different from a Project Manager, as their mission’s definitions sometimes oppose the Project Manager. The ScrumMaster nevertheless needs to have all of a Project Manager’s qualities without taking a hierarchic lead over other members of the team. This may sound rather unsettling as the ideal SCRUM team is self-managed, with no leader (in theory).
In short, the ScrumMaster :
- Is liable for the application of SCRUM good practices (which they master)
- Acts as a communication facilitator between members of the team
- Acts as a main (but not the only) point of entry for the team
- Prepares the fine-setting of the next sprint backlog, together with the Product Owner
- Is in charge of identifying upcoming obstacles and sees that they get eliminated
- Helps overall team improvement
- Helps the team in finding solutions
- Organizes and schedules (without necessarily hosting) meetings such as:
- Daily meetings
- Costing meetings (Planning Poker)
- Sprint planning meetings
- Sprint reports
- Calculates team velocity for every Sprint
- Updates Burndown Chart
- Keeps up the teams motivation and morale
The Quality Engineer guaranties the compliance of manufactured products with the company’s quality standards.
They define, implement and enforce the various procedures and quality methodologies.
In accordance with the quality objectives for a product, they define and implement quality indicators and control procedures during manufacturing.
They optimize the use of quality methodologies and help defining plans to improve production. They are in charge of the application of the procedures.
They conduct specific work groups as well as update and/or train the entire production staff. They may participate in national or international work groups related to quality.
They analyze and collect information about product quality, and gather data and feedback from commercial services (customer satisfaction, competitive products) but also from maintenance services (technical problems).
They may take part in the preparation of certification records or products registration.
A quality engineer must have critical thinking, good analytical skills, and strong qualities of discipline and method.
They need to be able to enforce their procedures through diplomacy, and they need to demonstrate quite an educational sense in order for their decisions to be accepted.
The Project Management Office (PMO) is the entity or group in a company that define and maintain the repository of processes that are related to project management. PMO aims to industrialize and standardize projects.
The PMO is in charge of documentation, mentoring and evaluation of project management as well as monitoring the implementation.
A good PMO will base their management principles on acclaimed methods.
The growing influence of certification programs such as ISO9000 or CMMI and regulatory changes have prompted organizations to standardize their processes.
Worldwide companies define, copy and gather best practices in terms of process and project management and continuously increase the overall influence of the PMO through the continuous improvement of the organization.
The PMO monitors the project to its end and traces back information to management for strategic purposes.