Selection of quality and process improvement projects: A critical link between planning and execution

by Moulton, Nancy A., Ph.D., CAPELLA UNIVERSITY, 2011, 361 pages; 3444655


The purpose of this quantitative survey research was to identify a set of project selection criteria for use in selecting project-oriented quality and process improvement projects in the U.S. defense industrial base. Project selection decision factors for improvement projects are scarce in the literature (Fryer et al., 2007). To fill this gap, the new theory of project selection criteria contains 13 concepts based on critical success factors found in the literature. The new theory asserts that using the project selection criteria allows managers to begin to implement the related critical success factors at the start of the project; improving the quality of the project and increasing the chances the project will be successfully completed.

The research design included a new survey instrument, a pilot test, statistical analyses and documented questionnaire validity and reliability. Empirical data were drawn from a population of 315 defense industrial base senior and middle managers with a 28% response rate.

The findings of this study supported the use and importance of each of the 13 project selection criterion. Current practices identified 3 project selection criteria that were more important than all the others: top management support and leadership, financial impact and results, and customer relationships. Secondary to these 3 were 7 criteria: importance and value, quality information, product and service design, process management, risk management, and workforce management and culture. The remaining 3 project selection criteria were also supported by a large majority of respondents but to a lesser degree than the top 10: focus on metrics, project-oriented structure, and supplier relationships.

Major implications of this study for managers are the following: (a) Critical success factors identified from traditional quality improvement programs, such as total quality management, are also applicable to project-oriented quality improvement programs such as lean six sigma; (b) critical success factors from organization-wide quality management programs are important criteria for use when selecting quality and process improvement projects; and (c) use of the new theory of project selection criteria is expected to improve the quality of projects and reduce the risk associated with frequent project failure.

AdviserKatherine Dew
Source TypeDissertation
SubjectsManagement; Organization theory; Operations research
Publication Number3444655

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