ITTO – Monitoring & Control – Part 2

Project Management Mathematics II- Monitoring & Control

This is in continuation of the article project management mathematics I – Monitoring & Control.

This article will cover the following tools of Plan Quality.

  • Design of Experiments
  • Benchmarking
  • Run Chart
  • Additional quality planning tools

Design of Experiments

Design of experiments (DOE) is a statistical technique that identifies the elements or variables that will have the greatest effect on overall project outcomes. This technique can be applied to determine the number and types of tests and their impact on cost of quality. DOE designs and sets up experiments to determine the ideal solution for a problem using a limited number of sample cases. It provides a statistical framework for systematically changing all of the important factors, rather than changing the factors one at a time, and determines which combination will produce the best result at a reasonable cost. In manufacturing industries, a series of structured tests are designed in which planned changes are made to the input variables. The effect of changes is assessed on the pre defined output.


Benchmarking is a process of comparing previous similar activities to the current project activities to provide a standard to measure performance against. This comparison will also help you derive ideas for quality improvements on the current project. It is the process of comparing the business process and performance metrics including cost, time, productivity or quality to another that is widely considered to be an industry standard or bench mark.
For example, if the current machine can label 15 packets per minute and the company is considering a new machine that can label 25 packets per minute, the benchmark is 15 packets per minute.


Run Chart

Run charts are used to show variations in the process over time or to show trends in the process. Differences in results will occur in processes because there is no such thing as a perfect process. When processes are considered in control, differences in results might occur because of common causes of variances or special-cause variances.

  • Common causes of variances come about as a result of circumstances or situations that are relatively common to the process. Three sources of common variances are
    • Random variances: Random variations might be normal, depending on the processes you’re using to produce the product or service of the project, but they occur randomly.
    • Known or predictable variances: Known or predictable variances are variances that exist in the process because of particular feature of the product. These are generally unique to the application.
    • Variances: These variances are always present in the process.  For example the variances  caused by human mistakes, machine variations or malfunctions,
  • Special-cause variances: These variances are not common to the process. For example, a certain project requires the manufacturing of a certain part and a machine on the line has a problem and requires a special calibration.

Trend analysis is the technique that’s carried out using run charts. Trend analysis often tracks variances in cost and schedule performance by monitoring the project .This can be done by documenting the difference between the actual completion date and planned completion date of the various activities. This information can then be used to forecast future performance

Additional quality planning tools

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. Distinguish which are the barriers and which are enablers to the project in the list.  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.

Brainstorming involves getting subject matter experts, team members, Quality team members, and anyone else who might benefit the process in a room and asking them to start identifying possible barriers and enablers. The trick here is that one person’s idea might spawn another idea, and so on such that by the end of the session the complete list of issues is identified. Affinity diagrams are used to group and organize thoughts and facts and can be used in conjunction with brainstorming. After all possible ideas are gathered with brainstorming, similar ideas are grouped together on an affinity diagram.

Nominal Group Techniques requires the participants to be together in the same room. Each participant has paper and pencil in front of them, and they are asked to write down what issues they think the project faces. Using sticky-backed notes is a good way to do this. Each piece of paper should contain only one issue. The papers are given to the facilitator, who sticks them up to the wall or a white board. The panel is then asked to review all, posted on the board and selects the final list.

Matrix diagrams are also used as a decision-making tool, particularly when several options or alternatives are available. By using a spreadsheet format, one can 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. Then most appropriate alternative or option can be selected.

Questions & Answers

  1. Which of the following is an effective tool to observe trend and results over a specified period of time?
    • A. Bar charts
    • B. Run charts
    • C. Benchmarking
    • D. Design of Experiments

    Correct Answer: B. Variable changes over a specified period of time are called a trend. A run chart is a line graph that is used for trend analysis.

  2. A car manufacturing company used a statistical method for identifying which factors may influence specific variables (speed or mileage) of the new product under development. Which of the following method the company is using
    • A. Scatter diagram
    • B. Run charts
    • C. Benchmarking
    • D. Design of Experiments

    Correct Answer: D. Design of experiments (DOE) is a statistical technique that identifies the elements or variables that will have the greatest effect on the project outcome.


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About Sparsh Goyal

A passionate IT professional, Sparsh Goyal boasts of 4.3+ years of experience. He has worked for various projects under AWS, Google Cloud Platform, Spring Boot, Python, Microservices, RESTful, RESTFUL APIs/SOAP, Scripting, Shell and JAVA. He is also working towards gaining proficiency in Oracle Cloud PaaS, DevOps, SaaS and Docker/Kubernetes. His primary and secondary skills validate his relentless pursuits of expanding his horizon and developing more as an IT person. He boasts of the following certifications: *Google Professional Cloud Security Engineer. *AWS Cloud Solutions Architect Associate. *Oracle certified JAVA programmer.
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