What is project quality management?

Project quality management is the process of continually measuring the quality of all activities and taking corrective action until the desired quality is achieved. This process helps to control the cost of a project, establish standards, and determines the steps to achieving and confirming those standards. It also lowers the risk of product failure or unsatisfied, unhappy clients.

Effective quality management happens in three steps:

  • Quality planning
  • Quality assurance
  • Quality control

Quality planning

A good quality management 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 requirements, 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 workgroups and/or individuals who will report and track quality metrics.

Quality assurance

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 the 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

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.

Benefits of project quality management:

  • Quality products

  • Customer satisfaction

  • Increased productivity

  • Financial gains

  • Removes silos/better teamwork

Quality management tools:

Affinity diagrams

Affinity diagrams generate, organize, and consolidate information concerning a product, process, complex issue, or problem. It expresses ideas without quantifying them (brainstorming sessions).

Process decision program charts

One of the seven tools for management and planning. Process decision program charts see the steps required for completing a process and analyzing the impact. These charts help to identify what could go wrong and helps plan for these scenarios.

Interrelationship diagrams

SixSigmaDaily defines interrelationship diagrams as diagrams that show cause and effect relationships. These diagrams identify variables that occur while working on a project and what parts of the project those variables might impact.

Prioritization matrices

Use prioritization matrices during brainstorming sessions to evaluate different issues based on set criteria to create a prioritized list of items. It helps to identify what issues may arise and determine what problems to solve first to meet certain objectives.  

Network diagrams

This is a visual representation of a project’s schedule. It helps plan the project from start to finish. It illustrates the scope of the project and the critical path of the project. The two types of network diagrams are:

  • Arrow diagram

  • Precedence diagram

Matrix diagrams

A matrix diagram is used to analyze data within an organization's structure. The matrix diagram shows the relationships between objectives, factor, and causes that exist between rows and columns that make up the entire matrix.  There are multiple types of matrices to use depending on the number of items and groups of items to analyze.

The different types of matrix diagrams and their use cases:

  • L-shaped matrix: This matrix creates a relationship between two items.

  • T-shaped matrix: This matrix creates a relationship between three groups of items.

  • Y-shaped matrix: This matrix creates a relationship between three groups of items but it is displayed in a circular diagram.

  • C-shaped matrix: This matrix creates a relationship within three groups of items and it is displayed in 3D.

  • X-shaped matrix: This matrix creates a relationship between four groups of items.

Work management software

Regardless of the tools used specifically for quality management, all details should be housed in a work management platform, which provides a centralized location for all information related to a project. This ensures that no data is lost, conversations don't happen in vacuums, and the project team is aware of any issues at all times.

Other knowledge areas

  • Integration management: Integration management helps teams work together more seamlessly. It takes various processes, systems, and methodologies and brings them together to form a cohesive strategy.
  • Cost management: Cost management is the process of planning and controlling the budget of a project. It involves everything from planning the overall project budgets to funding individual actions throughout the life of a project.
  • Communications management: Communications management outlines the processes and procedures needed to ensure that information and data throughout the life of a project are properly collected, stored, and distributed across the project team.
  • Time management: Time management involves analyzing and developing a schedule and timeline for project completion. Formalized time management processes provide a buffer for things like unexpected roadblocks and misestimated timelines.
  • Resource management: Resource management is the process of effectively planning, scheduling, and allocating all resources needed to execute on a project. This process touches on everything from financial resources to human capital.
  • Risk management: Risk management is the process of mitigating the potential negative impact unforeseen events can have a project's cost, time table, or other resources. This process should be accounted for from start to finish on all projects.
  • Scope management: Scope management is the process of actively managing what is and is not included in any given project. The scope should be defined in the planning phase of a project and should be reviewed throughout the execution to minimize scope creep wherever possible. 


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