30 May, 2024

Project Quality Management 101 | Video

Quality Management is often seen by Project Managers as a ‘nice-to-have’ extra, rather than a core competence. Yet it should share an equal priority alongside Schedule and Cost Management.

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Quality Management

The Case for Quality

I shouldn’t need to make the case for quality management. But, in case I do, in summary, paying attention to quality will:

  • Increase the chances of project success
  • Improve value delivery
  • Increase durability and reliability of deliverables
  • Ensure conformance with standards
  • Keep stakeholders happy

What do we Mean by Quality?

There are many aspects of quality, including:

  • performance
  • conformity with standards
  • reliability
  • sustainability
  • durability and resilience
  • satisfaction
  • uniformity
  • efficiency
  • design and aesthetics

The Cost of Quality

There is, of course, a cost. Cost of Quality (CoQ) refers to the financial costs from:

  • Cost of Conformance
    Money spent during the project to avoid sub-standard products. These can be the costs of preventing the non-conformance (QA) or of spotting it before release (QC).
  • Cost of Nonconformance
    Money spent during and after the project as a result of sub-standard products. These can be pre-release and therefore found by your project team (sometimes called ‘internal) or post-release costs of problems found by the end-users (sometimes called ‘external’).

Delivering Quality Management

We deliver Quality through four principal processes:

Quality Design (QD)
Where we decide on the right standard for each deliverable, design deliverables to meet these standards, and plan how the project will deliver and meet these standards.

Quality Assurance (QA)
The process for keeping the project’s focus on meeting your quality standards. We align project activities with the organization’s Quality Management policies and procedures.

Quality Control (QC)
Checking you got it right through a Monitor and Review process, checking your deliverables to ensure you have met your quality standards before you hand them over. Includes remediation procedures for products that do not meet their QD standards. We also record the results of quality assessments.

Quality Contracting
Ensuring that the Project Procurement processes specify goods and services with care, select the right suppliers, build effective relationships, and actively manage contracts.

Quality Management Plan

You will also need a plan for how you will ensure that your deliverables meet the standards in your specifications. I recommend your Quality Plan covers seven things:

  1. Quality Expectations of your Stakeholders
  2. Criteria against which quality can be assessed
  3. The Quality Standards you will work to
  4. Quality Assurance procedures
  5. Quality Control procedures
  6. Change Control process
  7. Responsibilities of Team members

These seven things represent the sections of our Quality Plan template. This is one of over 50 project management templates in our Project Management Templates Kit.

A Culture of Quality

The soul of Quality Assurance is a culture that values quality. This is one where:

  • everyone knows the importance of quality to the project
  • they understand the quality design requirements for each deliverable
  • each team member has a true commitment to ensuring deliverables meet their specifications

Because, as we said above, prevention is better than cure: project quality assurance means getting it right the first time.

Quality Assurance Processes do not Guarantee Quality

However, QA processes do not guarantee quality. They create a framework that makes quality easier to achieve. It’s only when people follow the process that quality becomes assured! Your QA process is likely to touch upon:

  • Sourcing and procurement of components
  • Operation and maintenance of equipment
  • Checking and testing during development and product creation
  • Reporting and recording of data
  • Auditing and review of the process

And, of course, you need to tailor your project’s QA processes to fit with your organization’s quality auditing procedures. For long projects, aim for continuous improvement of your processes.

Summing Up Quality Management

To conclude, I have produced a summary chart of Project Quality Management Processes.

Project Quality Management Process Summary
Project Quality Management Process Summary

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What Kit does a Project Manager Need?

I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own. 

Check out the Kit a Project Manager needs

Note that the links are affiliated.

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Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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