Process Standardization Vs. Customization (Tailoring)

Quality Management System (QMS), is a set of processes and standards defined to ensure desired level of quality in various phases of development/production. These defined processes and standards when implemented help organization to achieve certain goals and objectives.

Process Standardization is a process of creating QMS, includes defining and implementing a set of procedures and tools to strive quality and hence customer and employee satisfaction. It streamlines activities across organizational departments.

Standardization helps minimizing coordination issues among departments as well as maximizing quality,   predictability, interoperability, compatibility.

The defined set of standard processes is not always suited to all situations and all projects. Sometimes it is very much time and effort consuming to implement all relevant and necessary processes in a project, or sometimes based on project scope certain processes are not at all applicable. For e.g. let’s say a project of one week duration might not need a detailed level of design document to be created; for testing only projects design phase might not be applicable.

For such projects where all relevant set of standard processes cannot be implemented or not applicable there needs to be a guideline which defines allowable deviations that can be done in the existing processes to suit project specific characteristics. These guidelines are defined in customization (tailoring) guidelines.

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Process Customization (Tailoring) is a set of guidelines specifying allowable deviations or waivers in a defined set of standard processes while focusing on quality and meeting customer requirements.

Customization criteria e.g. project types, project size are used to create customization guidelines.

These guidelines forms a matrix indicating the Process/templates/tools, customization criteria (e.g. Project Types, Project Size), the range for each criteria (e.g. Project Type: Development/Maintenance/QA; Project Size: Large/Medium/Small), and the considerations for selecting a particular range (e.g. Mandatory/Optional/Not Applicable).

This approach ties together the processes/templates/tools, the criteria, and the tailoring considerations.

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At project startup based on the project scope and requirements project manager uses the tailoring guidelines to identify set of project specific processes/tools needed for that project. These tailored processes/tools are then used throughout the project execution.

Process customization/tailoring thus provide flexibility and ease in process implementation and mainly a positive attitude towards process implementation among users.