Most firms check work after the design phase is completed (Quality Control).  When substantial errors are found that late, they often lead to blown schedules.  We wanted to do things differently, so we looked to 6σ manufacturing processes for inspiration.  In addition to the post-design checks, we perform quality checks at quarterly milestones throughout the design process (Quality Assurance).  Using tollgates, we are able to find errors earlier and ensure we are on the same page with customers’ expectations and scope before anything goes too far down the wrong path.

In addition, two steps of quality control occur immediately before the 100% tollgate.  The first is a self-review of the design and the second is an independent “fresh-eyes” review from a senior engineer.  The quality steps are outlined below:

  1. Project Kickoff / Scope Review
  2. 25% Tollgate
  3. 50% Tollgate
  4. 75% Tollgate
  5. Self Review
  6. Independent Peer Review
  7. 100% Tollgate