Terri-Jane Yuzda


ISO Registration

  • More than likely, all companies in a megaproject alliance will be ISO 9000 registered. It's unlikely that the project itself will be ISO registered, however, as the project eventually will end, so participating companies should consider whether work falls within the scope of their registration

  • If it does, how will participants internally audit their own work? And which quality system will they use: the megaproject's, their own, a combination?

  • Usually, the quality system selected is a combination. Use a reference matrix or "roadmap" defining which organization's procedures to follow in which situations. This is useful for employees and auditors operating in a multiple quality system environment

Responsibility Matrices

  • Because of the number of quality organizations with a stake in the project's success, the central quality group should maintain a responsibility matrix

  • This matrix should plot which organization or group is to perform each of the various quality management, assurance and control tasks. For example, will the central quality organization perform supplier audits or will the quality organization within the procurement group? Will there be a central non-conformance reporting system managed by the central quality group or will each quality organization, representing various disciplines, maintain its own?

Comprehensive Audit Schedule

  • To avoid duplicate audits and unnecessary disruption, it is imperative that the central quality organization maintain a master audit schedule, showing internal and external audit requirements

  • A shared resource pool of quality auditors can be drawn from all the quality organizations represented in the megaproject. Audit results and a closed-loop corrective action system can also be managed by the central group

Documentation Roadmaps

  • To navigate the maze of policies, procedures, work instructions and standards, it is extremely useful to have each discipline or work group on the project equipped with a documentation roadmap. It defines which policies, procedures and standards are to be followed and which ones may be used for guidance or information only

  • Government regulations, as well as the policies and standards of the client, the parent company and the project, have to be considered. Which policy or standard takes priority or supercedes another?

Resolution Mechanism

  • Disputes will sometimes arise over which method, policy, procedure or standard best applies to carry out the work

  • A dispute resolution mechanism is often stipulated contractually among alliance partners

  • This mechanism will not have to be used, however, if good business practices and goodwill are guiding principles among the alliance partners and the client

Client Interface

  • The client has a huge vested interest in a megaproject's success and wants a safe, high quality job, completed on budget and on schedule. Therefore, working closely with the client's quality organization during the lifecycle of the project is crucial to smooth project closeout and acceptance of the expected quality deliverable

  • Expect the client to conduct reviews, assessments and audits to gauge performance of the megaproject team

  • Do not underestimate the client's interest in how quality is managed. The client has to live with the results after megaproject managers have moved on

  • Be prepared to hand over to the client, during intermediate or final project closeouts, all audit, inspection and test records.


Quality Management Can Ease Your Pain



Their costs are large, usually greater than $1 billion US. The public, industry, the government - it seems that everyone has a stake in how they turn out.

They're called megaprojects, and no matter how you define them, they're complex from both a project and a financial management perspective. In order to make them happen, a number of different corporate and government cultures bring money, people and expertise to the table and field. Yet very often megaprojects seem beyond anyone's control. And they usually come in behind schedule and over budget.

The reasons for this are many and have been the subject of a raft of research papers. But one key element of project management that should never be overlooked is quality management.

Lessons have been learned on megaprojects, however, and they point to some common QM pitfalls. Avoid them, and you and your project are more likely to succeed where others have not.

Organizing Quality Management
A consortium or alliance of companies manages most megaprojects. The client may be the government, or a large private utility or industrial organization. Quite often the client doesn't have the expertise or the resources to manage the megaproject but is actively involved as its sponsor.

The alliance often sets up its own project management structure composed of key personnel from within it or its parent companies. Within this structure there's usually a centralized quality management organization, responsible for quality on the entire project.

This is the organization that usually decides which quality management system to use. Will it be the quality management system of the largest alliance partner? Is a new system going to be put in place? Is it going to be a combination of all partners' systems?

In addition to a centralized quality group, various other quality groups are stakeholders in successfully managing a megaproject's quality. These include the clients' quality organization, the quality organizations associated with the individual companies involved, and the quality organizations of key suppliers.

Quality Can be Managed
To successfully manage quality on a megaproject, the central quality organization must consider certain criteria that normally aren't issues on smaller projects. See inset.

Megaprojects are inherently more complex and necessitate a different set of success factors. What people often don't ask is, Did we deliver a quality project? There is better chance of answering in the affirmative if the megaproject understands the criteria for success in managing the quality component.

Ron Clarkin, P.Eng., is with Honeywell Limited in Calgary. He's currently working on a megaproject in the Alberta resource sector. He earned an engineering degree from the University of Waterloo, and a master's degree from Loyola University in New Orleans. Mr. Clarkin is an APEGGA member and a Professional Engineers Ontario member.


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