Quality Checklists

If you're like me, you start your day at the office with a big to-do list that has so many items on it you won't be able to finish them all. Nevertheless, you faithfully write the list every day and check off the items that you accomplish throughout the day. Checklists are like this in that they provide a means to determine whether the required steps in a process have been followed. As each step is completed, it's checked off the list. Checklists can be activity specific or industry specific and might be very complex or easy to follow. Sometimes, organizations might have standard checklists they use for projects. You might also be able to obtain checklists from professional associations.

Real World Scenario

Candy Works

Juliette Walters is a contract project manager for Candy Works. She is leading a project that will introduce a new line of hard candy drops in various exotic flavors: café latte, hot buttered popcorn, and jalapeño spice, just to name a few.

Juliette is writing the quality management plan for this project. After interviewing stakeholders and key team members, she has found several quality factors of importance to the organization. Quality will be measured by the following criteria:

Candy size Each piece should measure 3 mm.

Appearance No visible cracks or breaks should appear in the candy. Flavor Flavor must be distinguishable when taste tested.

Number produced The production target is 9,000 pieces per week. The current machine has been benchmarked at 9,200 candies per week.

Intensity of color There should be no opaqueness in the darker colors.

Wrappers Properly fitting wrappers cover the candies, folding over twice in back and twisted on each side. There is a different wrapper for each flavor of candy, and they must match exactly.

The candy is cooked and then pulled into a long cylinder shape roughly 6 feet long and 2 feet in diameter. This cylinder is fed into the machine that molds and cuts the candy into drops. The cylinders vary a little in size because they're hand-stretched by expert candy makers prior to feeding them into the drop maker machine. As a result, the end of one flavor batch—the café latte flavor—and the beginning of the next batch—the hot buttered popcorn flavor—merge. This means the drops that fall into the collection bins are intermingled during the last run of the first flavor batch. In other words, the last bin of the café latte flavor run has some hot buttered popcorn drops mixed in. And, there isn't a way to separate the drops once they've hit the bin. From here, the drops go on to the candy-wrapping machine, where brightly colored wrappers are matched to the candy flavor. According to the quality plan, hot buttered popcorn drops cannot be wrapped as café latte drops. Juliette ponders what to do.

As she tosses and turns that night thinking about the problem, it occurs to her to present this problem to the company as an opportunity rather than as a problem. To keep production in the 9,000 candies per week category, the machines can't be stopped every time a new batch is introduced. So, Juliette comes up with the idea to wrap candies from the intermixed bins with wrappers that say "Mystery Flavor." This way, production keeps pace with the plan, and the wrapper/flavor quality problem is mitigated.

Exam Spotlight

Be aware that a checklist shows up as an input, an output, and a tool and technique. Quality checklists are an output of the Plan Quality process and an input to the Perform Quality Control process, and checklist analysis is a tool and technique of the Identify Risk process.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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