A control chart is a tool and technique of the performance quality control process that measures the results of processes over time and displays them in graph form (Heldman & Mangano, 2011). It is a graphic display of the results of a process over time and against established control limits and is used to determine whether the process is in control or out of controland requiring adjustment (Ward, 2011, p. 93). According to Gray and Larson (2014), a control chart monitors past project schedule performance and current performance as well as estimate future scheduled trends. Schwalbe adds that a control chart is a graphic display of data that illustrates the results of a process over time and thus allows a project management team to determine whether a process is in control or out of control (2009, p. 270).
Control charts are used to monitor progress toward milestones and are consequently useful in plotting the difference between the scheduled time on the critical path at the report date with the actual point on the critical path (Gray & Larson , 2014). They are very useful for giving warnings of potential problems so appropriate action can be taken if necessary.
Summary of the Article
The selected article is titled “Why Continuous Improvement May Need to Be Discontinued” by Ashkenas (2013) and was obtained from the Forbes website. The article explores a range of variations on continuous improvements such as Six Sigma, Kaizen and Lean and presents an array of reasonsas to why these forms of continuous improvements can be harmful to any organization when they are not in control. The author presents evidence from Japan, a country that, despite once being powered by these standard industry practices, is now being faced by a series of problems which, resulted toits automobile industry losing market shares to its competitors in South Korea and even in the United States.
Ashkenas suggests that these continuous improvement practices be abandoned and in its stead other more contemporary tools for process control be employed to ensure that processes are always on course and the specified product and project quality is achieved.
Most completed projects are usually assessed and evaluated based on whether they met the constraints of time, scope, and cost. However, many projects fail to meet these requirements, especially the constraint of time because of inappropriate tools used for planning time (Schwalbe, 2009, p. 12). Therefore, many tools have been crafted to enable a project manager to complete projects on time. One key tool that facilitates this is the control chartwhich, enables project managers to monitor progress toward significant project events that mark major accomplishments otherwise referred to as milestones (Gray & Larson , 2014). In the article, the author presents a case for the use of the control charts. He argues that the use of continuous improvement by organizations is detrimental and usually results in delays and sometimes quality problems. In such situations, a control chart would be apt in ensuring that the production line is always on time by ensuring major milestones are met and there are no lapses or delays in major milestones in the production line to ensure that deadlines and targets are met through constant correction of extreme variance.
Article 1: “The Importance of Using a Control Chart for Process Control.”SixSigma. Retrieved from sixsigmaonline.org/six-sigma-training-certification-information/articles/the-importance-of-using-a-control-chart-for-process-control.html
The author highlights the importance of incorporating the use of control charts in process control, as well as presents the various information that are required in the making of a control chart. He states that control charts help in distinguishing process variations attributed to assignable causes from those which are caused by unassignable causes. The article also explains the formula for putting together a control chart and the procedure for identifying and making changes to the process without making changes that may affect a project adversely.
Article 2: “Control Charts – Tools for Understanding Variation.” Statistics View. Retrieved fromhttp://www.statisticsviews.com/details/feature/5663861/Control-charts–tools-for-understanding-variation.html
Henderson focuses on the use of the control chart as a statistical tool, presenting the control chart as a tool for understanding variations in various aspects of life. The article begins by giving a brief history of the control chart, trying to trace it from its earliest use in the 1920s at Western Electric Company, while also trying to credit the individual who came up with the term “control chart.” Henderson adds how control charts have become important tools for quality improvement in the present day and concludes by providing illustrations of the use of control charts for individual measurements.
Article 3: “Empowering Efficiency in Chemical Industry.” Business Standard. Retrieved from http://www.business-standard.com/content/b2b-chemicals/em-power-ing-efficiency-in-chemical-industry-dr-naushad-forbes-director-forbes-marshall-113081200603_1.html
Naushad looks at how efficiency can be improved in various companies in order to reduce on costs. He states that very few aspects of cost can be controlled as a greater number of costs are given by the international community and a company is left as a price taker. However, the author adds that the company can control processing costs. One of these costs is the cost associated with the time linked to the production process. He opines that one of the key tools that can be used to a large extent to help in addressing the costs associated with inefficient use of time is the control chart. A controlchart with strict timelines and milestones to be kept he adds, will go a long way in minimizing the processing costs associated with any production activity.
Article 4: “Control Charts versus Run Charts (PMP CONCEPT 28).” PassionatePM. Retrieved fromhttp://www.passionatepm.com/blog/control-chart-versus-run-chart-pmp-concept-28
Through this article, the author discusses which tool between a Control chart and a Run Chart is best placed to evaluate and analyze quality results in the context of a project. He presents a case for each, outlining the advantages of one chart over the other.However, he concludes by stating that while both charts plot data over time the control chart is a better tool as it is enhanced with defined control limits and a target or goal delineation.
Ashkenas, R. (2013, July 24). Why Continuous Improvement May Need To Be Discontinued. Retrieved July 17, 2014, from Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ronashkenas/2013/07/24/why-continuous-improvement-may-need-to-be-discontinued
Belinda, M. (2011, July 25). Control Chart versus Run Chart (PMP CONCEPT 28). Retrieved July 17, 2014, from PassionatePM: http://www.passionatepm.com/blog/control-chart-versus-run-chart-pmp-concept-28
Forbes, N. (2014, June 5). Empowering Efficiency in Chemical Industry. Retrieved July 17, 2014, from Business Standard: http://www.business-standard.com/content/b2b-chemicals/em-power-ing-efficiency-in-chemical-industry-dr-naushad-forbes-director-forbes-marshall-113081200603_1.html
Gray, C. F., & Larson , E. W. (2011). Project Management: The Managerial Process. New York: McGraw Hill.
Heldman, K., & Mangano, V. (2011). PMP: Project Management Professional Exam Review Guide (2 ed.). New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.
Henderson, R. G. (2013, December 18). Control charts – Tools for Understanding Variation. Retrieved July 17, 2014, from Statistics View: http://www.statisticsviews.com/details/feature/5663861/Control-charts–tools-for-understanding-variation.html
Schwalbe, K. (2009). Introduction to Project Management, Second Edition. Massachucetts: Cengage Learning.
SixSigma. (n.d.). The Importance of Using a Control Chart for Process Control. Retrieved July 17, 2014, from SixSigma: www.sixsigmaonline.org/six-sigma-training-certification-information/articles/the-importance-of-using-a-control-chart-for-process-control.html
Ward, L. J. (2011). Dictionary of Project Management Terms, Third Edition (Revised ed.). Virginia: ESI International.
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