Project Quality Management
Quality management might sound like the fluffy side of project management, but it is not, trust me. In fact, with so many cases in the news of phones exploding while charging or trains that ended up being too wide to fit existing platforms, just to mention a few examples, one can quickly appreciate the real importance of proper quality management in projects!
The tricky aspect of quality is that just as valuable, it tends to lie in the eyes of the beholder; that is, it is subjective and very often difficult to measure. However, this is not to say that it should be neglected or fast-tracked when planning and executing a project—quite the opposite. Because of the different interpretations of quality, it should be addressed carefully and documented as explicitly as possible by the project manager in the project’s Quality Management Plan (QMP).
What is a quality management plan QMP?
The Quality Management Plan is a comprehensive document that details how quality will be covered by and in the project, including the acceptance criteria for the project’s deliverables. It determines quality policies and procedures relevant to the project for both project deliverables and project processes, defines who is responsible for what, and documents compliance and tailoring required to fit the project's characteristics. In this document, the approach for quality planning, quality assurance, and quality control are defined.
A Quality Management Plan will typically contain:
- Quality Planning
- Definition of Project Quality
- Project Quality Measurement
- Assessments, Reviews & Audits
- Project Quality Improvement
- Quality Monitoring and Control
- Corrective Actions
- Quality Schedule
- Quality Management Roles and Responsibilities
- Quality Management Processes
- Quality Management Standards & Procedures
- Quality Management Methods, Tools & Techniques
This section identifies which quality standards are relevant to the project and how they will be satisfied. It also lists the quality metrics used, including the acceptance criteria for project deliverables and product performance.
Definition of Project Quality
To make quality a construct as objective as possible, this section identifies quality standards and expectations for customers, the project, and the organization, ensuring that the customer and project success criteria are clear to all involved.
Project Quality Measurement
Describes how quality will be determined and measured, including desired metrics and related monitoring processes to measure quality standards. Additionally, it explains how data for measurements will be collected and the time frame for measurement and metrics reporting.
Assessments, Reviews & Audits
Project Quality Improvement
Based on quality data obtained, this section documents opportunities for improvement to eliminate gaps between current and desired performance levels regarding quality management.
Quality Monitoring and Control
As necessary to plan quality, monitor it, and identify the controlling actions that will be conducted to remediate quality gaps throughout the project’s life.
Following the previous point, the project management team should define the process and procedures by which anomalies and problems will be recorded, tracked, resolved, and reported. Likewise, the process for identification, communication, and implementation of corrective actions should be documented here.
Provides a schedule of quality reviews and other quality activities planned for the project, which should be appropriately integrated into the project schedule.
Quality Management Roles and Responsibilities
Defines the primary roles and responsibilities of the project team regarding quality management. These activities can include mentoring or coaching, auditing work products, auditing processes, participating in project reviews, among others.
Quality Management Processes
Provides a summary of how the project quality will be managed, including changes to the baseline. This step is often presented as a workflow diagram.
Quality Management Standards & Procedures
Should there be any organizational quality standards and procedures, these should be mentioned here, including any tailoring applied to suit the project.
Quality Management Methods and Tools & Techniques
Should there be any particular methods, tools, and techniques recommended or mandatory for this project, this is the place to list them.
The Quality Management Plan is part of the project's planning phase and should not be completed in isolation. Remember that quality is often subjective; hence, the earlier you can involve the project stakeholders in this exercise, capture their perception of quality, and translate it into quality acceptance criteria, the better chances of success you have!
As William Foster very well said, “Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” The same applies to projects – the quality of the project depends on you.