Challenges in Education: Quality

Certainly, education it is not just about knowledge transfer, this is a more complex process, and for some, a very long one. Reading April’s blog post from ASQ’s CEO Paul Borawski  “Quality Tools and Education: Making a Difference on a Global Scale“, it was brought to my attention how important quality tools are for education.

Time ago as a student, I remember my first day at primary school, I realised how I really wanted to learn and acquire more knowledge. Later on, once I got into college, I had the same feeling about learning, and during my days there I started to be more critical with the quality of courses I attended. Actually, I believe everyone could remember when friends were rating professors, giving advice to younglings on which courses to take or not.

Unfortunately, I remember in most of the cases  “objetivity” was not the included in the rate scale as were providing feedback for every professor.

Later on, my university decided to rate professors using a fixed set of questions; many related to the way the class was given, including the course content. I have to say this was a good initiative, but being honest, I believe that was ok – by that time – , now I understand this was just “post mortem”. Sincerely, I never was aware of any programme created to ensure quality while course’s content was prepared nor during the semester.

When I see all this in perspective, it is clear there are many reasons why quality is not relevant for everyone, and it should be. Indeed, there are many areas in the education process where quality should be a key part. Preparing a course it is not just about the content. 

In some way, I think we should be able to see the education as a product/service to be delivered with high level of excellence, and for sure, there are so many areas to be considered in order to bring satisfaction and quality to the students.

No doubt initiatives like this, promoted by Dr. Sternke are really valuable and those should be definitely shared with the community. And, this bring to me an interesting topic to research here in Costa Rica;  this would worth the time to share and compare.

I am really pleased for all the ASQ efforts looking for quality on every part of our lives. I am a strong believer that quality drives excellence; for this reason I would not be more than happy taking education as a starting point to influence on new generations of professional to continue the endless process of continuous improvement.

The Plan

Finally, after some time getting my ideas organised, I want to start planning. Yes planning.

As a project manager I have to plan every day, at work, at home almost on every situation I am involved. So, in this case, I would like to set some ides for this year and how I pretend to share ideas with my blog.

First at all, let’s start from the beginning, my blog’s name, Why PM+Q? Well, to me it sounds simple, this is not a fancy name, and it’s just simple as it sounds. “PM” stands for Project Management and “Q” for Quality (as easy as that, don’t you think?) Many people may think a strong meaning name would be more appropriate, but I think the things must be keep simple.

In the Project Management field things are simple, don’t get me wrong but good professionals do a great job and make the things easy for everyone. Project Management is not an easy profession, but when you love what you do, you can make it simple.

Being a project manager is not being a pest. There are many ways you could manage projects, but also, there are many ways to get into failure if you don’t know what you are doing. Anyway, I would have tons of time to tell you stories and tips. Maybe, I should create a comic book… or maybe not.

Project Management as a discipline needs a lot of compromise and responsibility from every professional; for that reason I added the “Q”. Project Management AND Quality should be always together. Quality facilitates the processes and standards needed to succeed. Quality it’s not just about numbers, charts and SLA’s; Quality is about the feeling and passion to make the things GREAT! Everything can be improved.

For this year I want to set some goals: The Plan. Since I have a wide experience in the Software Development and Infrastructure fields, I was thinking about many ways to make this funny, for example, I could take some events from my real life and put those into the PM and Quality context to contrast ideas, being critical and giving opinions.

I would like to share ideas about my experience at software development companies and their relationship with other segments: Food Industry, Automobile, Agriculture, Finance, Construction, and many others where you may be aware that Project Management and Quality are closely related to success.

Good stuff to come! No doubt, I will be happy to share it with the world.

The First Step

During many years I tried to take some time to write about my experiences as a professional, and always, the excuse was “I don’t have time”. Funny thing is when you realise how much time you actually had available five years ago, and today it is hard to have time even for a nice lunch.

After more than 12 years as a professional in the IS/IT fields, I have a lot of stories to tell. In fact, if I would be able to summarise every relevant episode since 1997, I could write books of all stressful moments, failure and success – Alleluia -.

In the same way I have gotten knowledge available from an endless group of professionals, it makes sense to give something in return. Today I want to start writing about real experiences I have had in my life; because I am a believer that is the real experience in the field and people networking what makes the difference.

I just have in my mind those days in July 1997, when I started my first job as a Server Technician at university, receiving the first requests from my boss and trying to absorb everything like a sponge.

Twelve months later I got my first job in a private company, and that was the big milestone in my life. As every human being, I made wrong decisions, great decision and some times I did not make any decisions at all. What a days…

Two year later I was promoted as a manager, – 10 years ago actually – . That was the very moment I understood what I had done and what I had to do to continue on building my professional life. I was too young maybe, and I cannot regret the heaven and hell I lived; the only thing I can think about now, is how those moments started the path I am walking throughout a decade until today.

I am very proud of what I am and now I will be more than proud to share something that has been waiting so much time to get out from me.

Hope everyone would enjoy reading my post, same or more I would enjoy writing those.

– Walter Mena, 18 November 2010.