Additional Quality Planning Tools

The last tool and technique of the Plan Quality process is additional quality-planning tools. The PMBOK® Guide lists these additional tools as follows:

■ Brainstorming

■ Affinity diagrams

■ Force field analysis

■ Nominal Group technique

■ Matrix diagrams

■ Prioritization matrices

We've already covered brainstorming and the Nominal Group technique. Let's briefly look at the remaining tools next.

Affinity diagrams are used to group and organize thoughts and facts and can be used in conjunction with brainstorming. After you've gathered all ideas possible with brainstorming, you group similar ideas together on an affinity diagram.

Force field analysis is a method of examining the drivers and resistors of a decision. You could use the old T-square approach and list all the drivers down the left column and all the resistors in the right. Determine which of these elements in the list are barriers and which are enablers to the project. Assign a priority or rank to each, and develop strategies for leveraging the strengths of the high-priority enablers while minimizing the highest-ranked barriers.

Matrix diagrams are also used as a decision-making tool, particularly when several options or alternatives are available. Using a spreadsheet format, you list common elements down the rows in the first column and then list each alternative in its own column to the right of this one. Then rank each alternative in the corresponding cell where the common element and the alternative intersect.

Prioritization matrices are useful when you need to prioritize complex issues that have numerous criteria for decision making. They're best used in situations where you can use data or inputs to score the criteria. They work similarly to a weighted scoring model (I talked about those in Chapter 2) in that the most important criteria carries the greatest weight.

You should memorize the names of these additional Plan Quality tools for the exam, but more important, you should understand both the names and concepts of the other tools and techniques I talked about earlier in this chapter.

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