“By mid-November 2021, after more than 18 years, I was abruptly out of my work-job-career.” I wrote that in a post in April 2022, and suggested that it was a story for another time. That time has arrived.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve been on a staycation. It was my first extended time off in nearly two years, and while the camping getaway plans were abruptly cancelled, I still wanted to spend time away from work and the computer, so I stuck to my scheduled break. I had lots of books to read and a few decluttering projects around the house I could tackle.
We can consider quality management in a very simple project to see how it can be applied as ‘good enough’. A familiar project where quality is a driving priority is baking. Let’s consider a project where I make a batch of cupcakes for an event with my team. My quality standard is relative and subjective – I want the product to be as good as the last time I made them, or at least good enough to contribute to the event. The quality attributes are edibility, uniformity (all the same size, shape, and colour), producibility, social acceptability (not an offensive shape and clearly marked for contents (gluten, non-vegetarian, may contain nuts)), and popularity (hopefully few to no cupcakes left at the end of the event).
A challenge for many projects, especially in research, is describing the quality criteria and distinguishing it from scope. A really big clue that you're talking about quality is when those subjective words start happening - better, faster, smaller, less, more, cheaper.
This is the second of a short series of posts about quality management, to include some of my take-aways from teaching as part of the Mohawk College and CARA Research Administration Certificate program, as well as experiences in my own work related to quality.
There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job, by Kikuko Tsumura. Pub 2015. Translation by Polly Barton. Pub 2020.
I don’t usually include fiction on this blog. When I first received this book (as part of a set of books won in a raffle earlier this year), I thought it was a non-fiction book, a guide to job hunting in the realities of a complicated world. It is not really that, but it is a good fable about the difficulties of finding work that is utterly easy, disconnected, or non-impactful.
Anyone who’s spent time with me learning or working on projects will have heard my philosophy on project quality: better is the enemy of good enough. Anything other than “excellent” can seem like failure, and yet putting in extra effort that will not be valued by the end user or other relevant parties means that resources (time, money, effort) are spent on things without any return. One area that can be challenging in the study of project management is the difference between scope and quality, and how to determine and measure quality, especially in research management.
Who is Robyn?
My career as a research project manager is rewarding, dynamic, challenging, and fun. I'm looking forward to sharing my knowledge and experience in communication, organization, and common sense approaches in research management and leadership, and to enabling others to learn and grow in this exciting career.