Implementation of quality control measures in project management and its impact on customer satisfaction

Master's Thesis, 2009
78 Pages, Grade: 1,8
Markus Nohe (Author)


List of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Abbreviations

1. Introduction and problem outline
1.1 Initial situation
1.2 Problem outline and target of this research paper
1.3 Research process

2. Basics of the study
2.1 Terminological basics
2.1.1 Definition and delimitation of the term project management
2.1.2 Definition and delimitation of the term of quality management
2.1.3 Definition and delimitation of the term of customer satisfaction
2.2 Structural frame of quality management
2.2.1 Historic development of quality management
2.2.2 Targets of quality management
2.3 Structural frame of project management
2.3.1 Historic development of project management
2.3.2 Targets of project management
2.3.3 Instruments, concepts and systems of project management
2.3.4 The project process
2.4 Structural frame of customer satisfaction

3. Scientific consideration of quality management
3.1 T argets of quality management
3.2 Methods and instruments of quality management
3.2.1 Situation analysis
3.2.2 Methods and instruments of quality management within the PDCA- cycle
3.3 Flows of quality management
3.3.1 Continuous improvement process
3.3.2 Six sigma
3.3.3 EFQM-model of Total quality management
3.4 Quality as a project concept at the example of Six sigma

4. Quality assurance measures in project management
4.1 Quality assurance in the project process
4.1.1 Quality assurance at the project initiation
4.1.2 Quality in project planning and -implementation
4.1.3 Quality assurance in project completion
4.2 Influence of quality assurance on customer satisfaction in projects
4.2.1 Improvement of basic characteristics of quality management
4.2.2 Improvement of performance characteristics through quality management
4.2.3 Improvement of enthusiasm characteristics through quality management

5. Summary and conclusion


List of Figures

Figure 1 Success rate of projects

Figure 2 Historic development of quality management

Figure 3 „Magic triangle“ of quality management

Figure 4 Growing importance of project management

Figure 5 Increase of importance of project

Figure 6 Target triangle of project management

Figure 7 Project process

Figure 8 Positioning of quality management within project management

Figure 9 Kano-model of customer satisfaction

Figure 10 PDCA-cycle within quality improvement

Figure 11 Situation analysis

Figure 12 Auditing-process

Figure 13 Cause-effect-diagram

Figure 14 Pareto diagram

Figure 15 Flow chart

Figure 16 Histogram

Figure 17 PDCA- and SDCA-cycle in cip

Figure 18 Added value through cip

Figure 19 Quality understanding of the Six sigma concept

Figure 20 Six sigma functional chain

Figure 21 EFQM-model

Figure 22 Six sigma-project focus

Figure 23 Categories of quality oriented costs

Figure 24 Quality matrix

Figure 25 Development of the estimation-corridor

Figure 26 Use of quality management methods in automobile development

Figure 27 Quality-Gate systematic

Figure 28 Quality enhancement and customer satisfaction

Figure 29 Phases of drug testing

Figure 30 Stage Gate process for the pharmaceutical product development

Figure 31 Customer loyalty measures rated by frequency of use

Figure 32 Allocation of tasks and actors in complaint management

Figure 33 Ideal typical complaint management process

List of Tables

Table 1 : Definition of Project Management

Table 2: Definition of quality management

Table 3: Definition of customer satisfaction

Table 4: Stages of development of quality management

List of Abbreviations

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1. Introduction and problem outline

1.1 Initial situation

The initial point of this research paper is the fact that continuous globalisation of world economy is leading to an increase of competitive pressure. To persist in this competitive environment permanent innovation and increase of quality of products and services are necessary as well as an ongoing improvement of processes.1 Quality here is the key to success of companies and to insure wealth of a society.2

In this context it gets more and more evident that existing structures within enterprises often are not sufficient anymore to meet the demands of an increase of speed of change and complexness of the enterprises environment. Organisations are fragmented and structured hierarchical and for that reason too stolid. In that situation projects hardly are completed by using established processes. Therefore new forms of organization are necessary emphasizing on efficiency in internal management and communications.3

To solve these challenges in daily business within a company the use of several concepts has proofed to be helpful, organizational processing by using project management in particular.4 In this contents more and more companies figure out that successful project management not only strengthens competitiveness but also has a positive impact on the efficiency of internal procedures.5 Therefore it does not surprise that an increasing number of companies use the potential of project management.

In this context it is to be said that not every project is led to a successful end (comp. figure 1). More than half of the projects are cancelled before reaching the project target. Only about 19% are completed successfully.

Figure 1 Success rate of projects6

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Requirements for quality management as a part of projects gain relevance in this context. An in the project management integrated quality management that begins with quality issues within the target definition can help avoiding potential deficits in contents and thereby bring projects to a successful end.7

Thus an improvement of competitiveness only seems realizable by use of a quality- assured project management. Due to a more and more homogenous range of services of the suppliers in the end-customer market there are few distinguishing criteria. Customer satisfaction is an adequate measure and developing to be the most important influencing factor of competitiveness.8

1.2 Problem outline and target of this research paper

Because of the major significance of customer satisfaction and the divergent situation regarding transposition within projects the question occurs, how quality- assuring methods as part of project management have an impact on the success of the project and thereby the target to improve competitiveness respective - even more concrete - the increase of customer satisfaction: „to find out which dimensions of quality are significantly correlated with [...] customer satisfaction. The result can provide valuable reference information for [...] service providers to manage their services”.9

So target of this research paper is to - on a basis of knowledge gained of former scientific research - develop generally valid statements about prerequisites and meaningfulness for a successful quality assurance in project management and their effects on customer satisfaction.

For scientific research of project management many relevant papers can be taken in concern as well as some papers of the field of innovation management and of the organization theory. With regard to quality assurance especially the papers about the subject of ‘Kaizen' respective ‘continuous improvement process (cip)‘ as well as further papers concerning specific forms of quality management are relevant for this research paper. Regarding customer satisfaction papers of the field of marketing as well as of customer relationship management (crm) are relevant.

Special emphasis of remarks hereby lies on pointing out possible solutions of quality assurance measures within project management on the one hand and showing the influence of these measures on the degree of customer satisfaction as the target figure in terms of increasing competitiveness on the other hand. Besides pointing out theoretical possibilities of quality management within project management an ideal typical option how to implement corresponding methods is to be developed. Case studies have to prove that the methods being implemented actually have an impact on customer satisfaction. The result of this paper shall answer the underlying research question which aspects of quality insurance in project work actually do have an impact on customer satisfaction to give companies a guideline which elements within project management process have to be taken into account.

1.3 Research process

This work is divided in five chapters: Chapter one is introducing the topic and stating the relevance of this study and the key research questions. Chapter two is showing the basics of the study. It is enlarging upon relevant terminology in project management, quality management and customer satisfaction as well as stretching a fundamental structural frame for the given sub areas. Furthermore it is covering the historic development of quality- and project management and the targets and elements of these systems. Finally a reference framework to customer satisfaction is stretched.

Chapter three is taking quality management to a detailed observation. After explaining the targets of employee suggestion schemes, methods and instruments to reach these targets are described. In this contents the six-sigma-model, the tqm/efqm - reference framework and the continuous improvement process (kaizen) are presented. Afterwards first findings of the interaction between quality management and customer satisfaction are illustrated.

To transfer the theoretical results of this study into a practical application context, chapter four is examining the implementation of quality assurance in ideas management in practice as well as its impact on customer satisfaction. For this an ideal-typical quality management system is described during project progress and relevant acceptable methods and instruments are given concrete. In a next step the direct effect of quality assurance methods within the scope of case studies is given concrete by focusing on these aspects in especially relevant branches of business.

Finally in chapter five key insights are summarized and implications are deflected.

2. Basics of the study

The remarks in this chapter are starting point for the described aspects regarding contents and methodology in the following chapters of this study. Although the three key topics of this work - quality assurance methods, project management and customer satisfaction - are being discussed in practical for many years, the officially recognized literature does not give consistent terminology.10 For this reason the three key terms of this study are transferred to definitions on base of further literature at first. Then the structural framework of the subject fields is presented. The historic development of quality- and project management is expanded and targets, instruments, concepts and systems are described for all key subjects.

2.1 Terminological basics

In economic literature several definitions of the three key terms relevant in the context of this study are existing. Due to a significant variance the primary target of this chapter is to differentiate the single definitions from literature, point out commonalities and finally to derive suitable definitions for project management, quality assurance and customer satisfaction as a common basis for the following remarks.

In the following part these three key terms are regarded from object-specifically functional and teleological aspects. In paragraph 2.1.1 the basic term of project management is described, in paragraph 2.1.2 the terminological basics of quality management. Paragraph 2.1.3 is describing the term of customer satisfaction. Finally the basic descriptions each are transferred to a universal definition.

2.1.1 Definition and delimitation of the term project management

A delimitation of the term project management has to precede a detailed definition of the term project itself. A project is a complex process in which within a certain time a defined aim is to be reached. Thereby that specific process has not taken place in the past and will not be repeated in the future.11

On the basis of this definition now the term project management is redefined valid for this paper building on an analysis of popular definitions in recognized literature. Table 1 gives an overview of the key definitions which are to be found in the literature.

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Table 1: Definition of Project Management

While Haberfellner (1992) only regards project management to be a handling of projects, the Project Management Institute (2004) not only considers the (more detailed described) project progress management but also the management of corresponding knowledge, application of skills and specific techniques deployed in project management. The most comprehensive and detailed perception is provided by Borchert et al. (2005) with their definition of a three-dimensional concept of project management: it is comprehending the functional project coordination, the institutional project organization and the normative project management.12 Due to the fact that it is taking aspects concerning activity as well as structure and behaviour into account, this definition of project management is used as basis for the following deliberations.

Regarding the teleological aspects of project management it has to be stated that project management - as any other form of management too - is pursuing many different goals depending on the single project.13 The Project Management Institute's definiton (2004) indicates the aim of project management to accompany the project process to the end.14

Based on the above mentioned remarks project management can be summarized in the following definition:

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2.1.2 Definition and delimitation of the term of quality management

Analogue to part 2.1.1. to be able to give a comprehensive definition of the term of quality management it is necessary to define quality first. While the term of quality primarily is covering the “property of an entirety of inherent characteristics of a product, system or process to meet the requirements of customers and other interested persons“15 and thereby highlighting the process orientated view, several points of views of quality management are existing16, as illustrated in Table 2.

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Table 2: Definition of quality management

Even though definitions in literature partially are differing strongly in terms of complexity, they have the fundamental idea of quality assurance of a company in common. ISO 9000 claims securing a minimum quality while the definition of Wagner/Käfer (2008) is moving the improvement process of quality in the foreground.

Furthermore Kamiske/Brauer (2008) are pointing to that quality assurance is to be anchored in the management of an organization while not specifying on the need of required activities. ISO 9000 states that technical measures are necessary as well as social measures. Wagner/Käfer (2008) are putting emphasize on customer orientation, so that that definition is suitable for this work. Based on these remarks following definition can be used:

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2.1.3 Definition and delimitation of the term of customer satisfaction

Customer satisfaction nowadays often is considered to be the most important indicator of operational performance measurement.17 However satisfaction is the result of a complex psychical comparison-process that depends on several possible contributory factors, it is not surprising that the phenomenon of satisfaction - and thus of customer satisfaction as well -increased has been examined of the psychological point of view up to know.18 The psychological basis also is reflected in the definitions of customer satisfaction in the literature as illustrated in Table 3.19

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Table 3: Definition of customer satisfaction

An initial analysis of existing definitions shows that customer satisfaction either can be viewed as attitude and therewith as a result or as a result of the comparison of result and intended result while the process character is highlighted. While Howard/Sheth (1969) represent the first definition Meffert/Bruhn (1981), Töpfer (1999) and Homburg (2003) define customer satisfaction as matching process. However the most comprehensive description is provided by Giering (2000) who liaises the attitude with the comparison of result and intended result.

At the same time it demonstrates that within every definition carried out both attitude and a possible comparison process depend on the customer himself and therefore are influenced by his psychological processes. Although these aspects are not easy to grasp an integrated definition for the use in this paper is to be generated on a base of these assumptions and given definitions.

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After having defined the relevant terminology of this work in the following paragraphs a structural frame for the three research fields is stretched. Hereby it is expanded on the historic development of each field, the underlying targets and methods, concepts and instruments associated with to create a basis for the detailed considerations in chapters 3 and 4.

2.2 Structural frame of quality management

In this part the structural frame of quality management is illustrated. Based on the historic development of quality management since the turn of the last century described in paragraph 2.2.1 part 2.2.2 introduces the main targets of quality management to have a basis for the considerations on the in chapters 3 and 4 described methods, concepts and instruments .

2.2.1 Historic development of quality management

The origin of quality management already is to be found by Taylor at the end of the 19th century.20 Taylor's insights of scientific management and a overall reform of organization do not directly point out on quality management in modern sense at first sight. But Taylor mentions first that a company should follow clear principles to support products and employees at the same time in an optimal way.

In a more concrete way early forms of monitoring of the product quality are to be found at the beginning of the 20th century.21 Systematic procedures in this context were used for monitoring in mass production for the first time. Hereby the term of quality was pointing out on the nature of products therewith on technical characteristics.22

This form of quality control was extended by Walter Shewhart in 1924 by static control measures in industrial assembly particularly comprehending fault detection and a following analysis.23 However this form of quality control in Germany at first became popular in the 1950s as quality testing.24

The focus on output-quality paired with a neglect of manufacturing- and controlling processes continued until the 1960s.25 Then a change to quality assurance took place: On the one hand new testing processes should reveal reasons for quality deviations on the other hand instruments - for example quality circles and educational recourses - were implemented to improve the quality of the products.

A wider spread of the approach to quality assurance is to be found by Walter Shewharts student William Deming in Japan, whose approaches lead to another understanding in management.26 Hereby he put special emphasis on the focus of management on production flow and the processes. These processes were to be set in a way that customer needs and expectations were exceeded permanently without neglecting the needs of employees.

Demings approaches had a strong appeal in Japan due to trainings in companies that lead to success in their daily work use.27 With that he made a considerable contribution to the development of the Japanese quality understanding that solidified in economics by the development of the Toyota Production System by Taichi Ohno in the 1950s as well as his product management concept respective his organization system.28

Although both Deming and Ohno are already integrating social factors of the employees as well as the creation of quality in an organization, their assumptions on quality assurance are limited on sub-sections of the value chain.29 Since the mid-1980s integrated concepts of quality management regarding the whole value chain get more and more important. These concepts besides the production process also include the basic framework conditions of an organization as well as the spread of quality insurance on suppliers and employees.30

In this context in 1987 the standardized procedures to certify quality were developed.31 The so-called DIN/ISO-standard is a regulation that helps organizations to develop a quality management on the one hand, and to facilitate the documentation of quality processes on the other hand.32 These standards have been comprehensively reviewed in the year 2000 whereas customer satisfaction as well as the improvement of processes under consideration of the employees were set as basic objectives.33 The development of quality development is illustrated in Figure 5.

Figure 2 Historic development of quality management34

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2.2.2 Targets of quality management

As the previous paragraph clearly showed the perspective on quality management has strongly changed over the decades. Therefore today many possible teleological orientations of quality management are existing. Hereby can be distinguished in internal and external targets: While quality management with an external orientation is aimed at customers respective their satisfaction, the internal quality management is aimed at controlling aspects and processes within the organization.35 As Table 4 shows in an overview, the targets of quality management can be assigned to different forms

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Table 4: Stages of development of quality management

The development stages in Table 4 are not to be seen as alternatives but rather as complementary concepts. Hereby it is not important to achieve any various result but a combination of targets that have a certain impact on corporate success.36 For this not only the orientation on customer demands (1) and striving for a certain quality level (2) are important but also the integrated management of quality orientation ( 3 / 4 ) . The optimum of quality in the production process are zero error-programs (5) such as Six Sigma or Kaizen. The Kano-model is focused on the improvement of customer satisfaction.

The focus of quality management concepts hereby is to optimize internal processes whereas three basic target levels - so-called Excellence-Levels - are to be distinguished.37 On the one hand models are to be found that strive for a “sufficient“ quality level, for example the minimum standards of DIN EN ISO 9000. This standard gives a certain level of quality that is secured when the requirements are fulfilled exactly. Furthermore concepts are existing that have the goal to reach the excellence-level as high as possible, for example the EFQM-model. Here the focus is to permanently improve the product- and process quality. Top of the range is the zero error-level which can quantitatively be simulated by the six sigma-criteria. Chapter 3 is comprehensively covering these models.

At this point it is to be said, that the target of quality management is to enhance product- and service quality with the final target to increase sales by the creation of satisfied customers. Hereby different levels of claims are possible, the optimum is a “perfect“ value-added process.

Besides the actual product quality for quality management other target figures are important also. The improvement of processes for example can be used to decrease the temporal frame that is important for value-adding. In addition it is thinkable to improve the cost situation by using quality management to produce more efficiently and therefore more competitively.38

Figure 3 illustrates the three basic target figures of quality management in the so- called magic triangle of quality management.

Figure 3 „Magic triangle“ of quality management39

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2.3 Structural frame of project management

Analog to the approach in paragraph 2.2 this part is giving the structural frame of project management. Paragraph 2.3.1 gives an overview of the historic development of project management with the emphasis on the recent years when professionalization took place. Part 2.3.2 presents the basic targets, in 2.3.3. main concepts and methods of project management are given. Finally the project process is visualized in part 2.3.4.

2.3.1 Historic development of project management

Project planning in a wider sense basically is existing for centuries when projects are regarded to be bigger aims that are to be solved collectively.40 Such projects were carried out without a special form for a long time before they were systemized in the 20th century.

First attempts of a systematic project management are documented in the management theory by Taylor as well as on his student Henry Gantt.41 In the beginning of the 20th century he developed the so-called Gantt-tables that point out on the sequence of work processes, tasks and sub-goals and illustrate them. With their studies and first methods Taylor and Gantt helped that management was able to establish as an own business function.

Modern project management however is founded on military projects in the 1940s like the Manhattan Project, the development of the atomic bomb.42 Still the main milestones of the project management-history primarily are major projects like the Apollo-program by NASA. The further development of the project management process mainly took place in such branches in which major projects with a huge investment of all resources were realized. Figure 4 shows the major projects that influenced project management in modern sense.

Figure 4 Growing importance of project management43

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Due to interweaving of different areas of action the use of new organization structures became necessary. Sticking with proven organizational structures therefore was considered as outdated. Thus whole organizations were tried to be run as projects which finally failed.44 However the success of projects as well as documentations of the value of project management still were convincing whereof many publications on this topic resulted in the mid 1960s. These methods finally were adopted by private industry.

While project management at that time was “only“ understood as tool for project planning and -controlling, in the 1970s and 80s it established to an own management system.45 The foundation of the International Project Management Association (IPMA) 1965, the Project Management Institute (PMI) 1969 as well as the Gesellschaft für Projektmanagement (GPM) 1979 contributed to this - a further proof of the necessity of a fully developed form of project management that finally resulted in DIN 69901.


1Comp. Thom (2003), p. 29.

2 Comp. Thom (2003), p. 29.

3 Comp. Kuster et al. (2007), p. 3.

4 Comp. Hagen (2009), p. 89.

5 Comp. Martinsuo/Lehtonen (2007), p. 56.

6 Source: Own illustration according to DS Management Consulting (o.J.).

7 Comp. Schmidt/Mertin (2005), p. 136.

8 Comp. Töpfer/Mann (2008), p. 37.

9 Comp. Kuo/Wu/Deng (2009), p. 887.

10 Comp. Braun/Koch (2002), p. 149 as one example.

11 Own def. on base of Frese (1980), sp. 1961, Burghardt (2002), p. 21; Borchert et al. (2005), p. 3.

12 Comp. Borchert et al. (2005), p. 4 as well as Detail Schulte-Zurhausen (2005), p. 404.

13 Project Management Institute: “A project creates unique deliverables, which are products, services, or results” (ProjectManagement Institute (2004), p. 5; Highlighting changed).

14 This can’t be a useful guideline either - Annatatmula has the opinion that “There is no definitive skill and leadership style mix that is appropriate for handling different types of projects”, comp. Anantatmula (2006), p. 4.

15 Kamiske/Brauer (2008), p. 176.

16 Comp. Stebbing (1990), Oess (1993), Stauss (1994), Pfeifer (2001).

17 Comp. Homburg (2003), p. 19.

18 Comp. Scharnbacher/Kiefer (2003), p. 5.

19 A comprehensive listing of different definitions of customer satisfaction is to be found at Stock-Homburg (2007), p. 24 ff.

20 Comp. as well as in the following Zollondz (2002), p. 60 ff.

21 Comp. as well as in the following Schreyögg (2002), p. 186.

22 Comp. Braun/Koch (2002), p. 151.

23 Comp. Zollondz (2002), p. 77.

24 Comp. Schreyögg (2002), p. 186.

25 Comp. as well as in the following Braun/Koch (2002), p. 151.

26 Comp. as well as in the following Zollondz (2002), p. 84 ff.

27 Comp. Zollondz (2002), p. 91.

28 Comp. Zollondz (2002), p. 101.

29 Comp. as well as in the following Braun/Koch (2002), p. 151.

30 Comp. Hohn (2006), p. 208.

31 Comp. Koch (2002), p. 151 f.

32 Comp. Hohn (2006), p. 210.

33 Comp. Hohn (2006), p. 210.

34 Source: Own illustration according to Tavasli (2008), p. 10.

35 Comp. Töpfer (2008), p. 930 f.

36 Comp. as well as in the following Töpfer/Großekatthöfer (2006), p. 383.

37 Comp. as well as in the following Töpfer/Großekatthöfer (2006), p. 384.

38 Comp. Töpfer/Großekatthöfer (2006), p. 386.

39 Source: Own figure in the basis of Töpfer/Großekatthöfer (2006), p. 386.

40 Comp. Bergmann/Garrecht (2008), p. 210.

41 Comp. as well as in the following Witzel (2003), p. 96.

42 Comp. as well as in the following ##Wieczorrek/Mertens (2008), p. 14.

43 Source: Litke (2005), p. 23.

44 Comp. Wieczorrek/Mertens (2008), p. 15.

45 Comp. as well as in the following Litke (2005), p. 7.

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Implementation of quality control measures in project management and its impact on customer satisfaction
University of applied sciences Frankfurt a. M.
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Markus Nohe (Author), 2009, Implementation of quality control measures in project management and its impact on customer satisfaction, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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