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Because it is the first and last time to assure before any work begins that you can engage the client to confirm their requirements. Quality is conformance to requirements. But many clients express their expectations instead. Until you have translated their expectations into requirements, do not allow work to begin. And never, ever use the expression "Meet or exceed your expectations."
As the project startup meeting ends, it is not unusual to have the last question from the PM:
"Does anyone have any questions?" After someone asks a tough clarification question,
it is common for the PM to respond "Great question Sally! Just get the project work going. . we're on a schedule…and I'll get back to you later." When does the PM get back to Sally?
Most frequent answer I hear is "NEVER!"
So now this project just started and you can already anticipate the unacceptable COQ (Cost of Quality) starting to rise.
My favorite phase in a project lifecycle is the turnover-closeout phase. Generally, in industrial construction, we turnover systems and sub-systems of the facility progressively, in accordance with the pre-commissioning/commissioning schedule to support the start-up sequence. We have prepared and executed for this intense focus on each element which is examined, tested, verified, and documented by all relevant stakeholders in order to support the safe and successful operation of the facility. All open items are resolved, "t's crossed and i's dotted", and the project moves to its conclusion. No more procrastination, "yeah, but……" or "oh, let me get back to you on that next Wednesday…….". It's "showtime". It is a time of satisfaction for all project participants: The culmination of all the previous phases to "sign, seal and deliver" the plant -- the physical completion of what once was an idea into reality -- to the owner. And then it's on to the next challenge -cliché's and all!