The Basics of Project Quality Management
- Quality Planning
- Quality Assurance
- Quality Control
A good quality plan starts with a clear definition of the goal of the project. What is the product or deliverable supposed to accomplish? What does it look like? What is it supposed to do? How do you measure customer satisfaction? How do you determine whether or not the project was successful? Answering these questions and others will help you identify and define quality goals, allowing you to discuss the approach and plans needed to achieve those goals.
This includes assessing the risks to success, setting high standards, documenting everything, and defining the methods and tests to achieve, control, predict and verify success. Be sure to include quality management tasks in the project plan and delegate these tasks to work groups and/or individuals who will report and track quality metrics.
Quality assurance tests use a system of metrics to determine whether or not the quality plan is proceeding in an acceptable manner. By using both qualitative and quantitative metrics, you can effectively measure project quality with customer satisfaction. These tests or quality audits will help you predict and verify the achievement of goals and identify need for corrective actions. Additionally, quality assurance tests will help you map quality metrics to quality goals, allowing you to report on the status of quality at periodic project review meetings.
Quality control involves operational techniques meant to ensure quality standards. This includes identifying, analyzing, and correcting problems. While quality assurance occurs before a problem is identified, quality control is reactionary and occurs after a problem has been identified. Quality control monitors specific project outputs and determines compliance with applicable standards. It also identifies project risk factors, their mitigation, and looks for ways to prevent and eliminate unsatisfactory performance.
For further reading, here are other articles about the nine project management knowledge areas:
- Project Management Knowledge Areas
- Four Keys to Integration Management
- Best Practices for Scope Management
- Four Steps to Project Time Management
- Understanding Project Cost Management