Achieving Project Excellence through Quality Management

The quality management plan is the main vehicle to communicate project quality aspects and specifies quality control and assurance for the project. It should cover all aspects of project quality management, but the specific contents, detail, and format will vary depending on the project.

Quality refers to ensuring that the products or services delivered by an organization meet the customer's expectations and comply with relevant regulations. This definition is based on AS/NZS ISO 9000:2000. However, quality can also be defined differently in other contexts, such as excellence (transcendent definition), product attributes (product-based definition), intended use (user-based definition), value vs. price (value-based definition), and conformance to specifications (manufacturing-based definition).

To manage project quality, the PMBOK® recommends three processes: Plan Quality Management, Perform Quality Assurance, and Control Quality. These processes help organize and prepare for quality management and ensure that the project work meets the desired quality standards.

HISTORY OF QUALITY MANAGEMENT

Quality in project management is not a new concept. It has been around for centuries, and has evolved over time.

The first known quality assurance practices were used in the construction of the pyramids in Egypt. The Egyptians used inspection and measurement to ensure that the pyramids were built to the highest standards.

In the Middle Ages, quality assurance and quality control concepts and procedures were practiced through the training of masters, apprentices, and journeymen in the guild system. The guilds were responsible for developing strict rules for product and service quality.

Modern quality concepts were developed from the work of two American consultants, W. Edwards Deming and Joseph Juran. Deming and Juran taught in Japan in the 1950s, and their work helped to revolutionize the Japanese approach to quality.

The concept of Total Quality Management (TQM) was developed from the work of Deming and Juran. TQM is a management philosophy that focuses on continuous improvement of all aspects of an organization, including its products, services, processes, and people.

TQM is based on the following principles:

  • Customer focus: TQM organizations are customer-driven. They focus on meeting and exceeding the needs of their customers.
  • Leadership: TQM requires strong leadership from top management. Leaders must be committed to quality and must create a culture of continuous improvement.
  • Involvement of all employees: TQM requires the involvement of all employees in the quality improvement process. Everyone in the organization has a role to play in ensuring quality.
  • Process improvement: TQM organizations focus on improving their processes. They use statistical methods to identify and eliminate defects and waste.
  • Continuous improvement: TQM is a never-ending journey. Organizations that practice TQM are constantly striving to improve their products, services, processes, and people.

Total Quality Service (TQS) is a variation of TQM that is applied to service industries. TQS emphasizes the importance of customer service and employee empowerment.

The ISO 9000 series of international standards are a set of quality management standards that are recognized worldwide. The ISO 9000 standards provide a framework for organizations to implement TQM or TQS.

The history of quality management is a long and rich one. It is a story of continuous improvement and innovation. Today, quality management is essential for any organization that wants to be successful.

Planning for Quality

Quality assurance is essential for any project, and it starts with planning. The Plan Quality Management process determines how the project team will ensure the quality of the deliverables throughout the project lifecycle.

The Plan Quality Management process takes into account the following inputs:

  • The project management plan: This document provides an overview of the project and its objectives.
  • The stakeholder register: This document identifies the project's stakeholders and their needs.
  • The risk register: This document identifies the project's risks and their potential impact on quality.
  • The requirements documentation: This document specifies the project's requirements.
  • The enterprise environmental factors: These are factors outside of the project team's control that can affect quality.
  • The organizational process assets: These are the project team's knowledge and experience that can be used to improve quality.

The Plan Quality Management process uses the following tools and techniques:

  • Cost-benefit analysis (value management): This technique is used to compare the costs and benefits of different quality assurance options.
  • Cost of quality: This technique estimates the costs of preventing, detecting, and fixing defects.
  • Seven basic quality tools: These tools are used to identify and analyze quality problems.
  • Benchmarking: This technique compares the project's performance to the performance of other projects or organizations.
  • Design of experiments: This technique is used to test different combinations of factors to improve quality.
  • Statistical sampling: This technique is used to select a representative sample of data for analysis.
  • Additional quality planning tools: There are many other quality planning tools that can be used, depending on the specific project.

The Plan Quality Management process produces the following outputs:

  • The quality management plan: This document describes how the project team will ensure the quality of the deliverables.
  • The process improvement plan: This document describes how the project team will improve the quality of its processes.
  • Quality metrics: These are measurements used to track and improve quality.
  • Quality checklists: These are lists of items to check for quality.
  • Project documents updates: This includes updates to the project management plan, risk register, and requirements documentation to reflect the decisions made during the Plan Quality Management process.

The Plan Quality Management process is an essential part of ensuring the quality of any project. By carefully planning for quality, the project team can prevent defects and ensure that the project meets the needs of its stakeholders.

Here are some additional tips for planning for quality:

  • Get input from all stakeholders early in the planning process.
  • Set clear quality standards and expectations.
  • Use appropriate quality tools and techniques.
  • Monitor quality throughout the project lifecycle.
  • Take corrective action when necessary.

Now you can ensure that your project meets the highest standards of quality.

The Role of the Project Manager in Quality Management

The project manager plays a key role in ensuring the quality of the project deliverables. This includes:

  • Linking the project to the company's quality system: The project manager must ensure that the project complies with the company's quality standards and procedures.
  • Developing a project quality plan: The project manager must develop a plan that defines how quality will be managed throughout the project lifecycle.
  • Managing project deliverables quality: The project manager must monitor and control the quality of the project deliverables to ensure that they meet the requirements.
  • Motivating the project team towards quality: The project manager must motivate the project team to focus on quality and to take ownership of the quality of their work.

Project quality management needs to be aligned to the client's needs. This means understanding the client's expectations and ensuring that the project deliverables meet those expectations. Quality management is an important project management responsibility, and it covers products, processes, and people.

Here are some additional tips for the project manager in ensuring quality:

  • Get input from the client early in the project.
  • Set clear quality standards and expectations.
  • Use appropriate quality tools and techniques.
  • Monitor quality throughout the project lifecycle.
  • Take corrective action when necessary.

This helps project manager to ensure that the project meets the highest standards of quality and the client's needs.

Quality Management in the Project Phases

Quality management is an important part of every project, and it should be considered at all stages of the project lifecycle. The concept phase and the planning phase are two of the most important phases for quality management, as they set the foundation for the rest of the project.

Concept Phase

The concept phase is the first phase of the project lifecycle, and it is during this phase that the project manager and the team will define the scope of the project, identify the stakeholders, and develop the project plan. Quality management should be integrated into the concept phase by:

  • Developing a quality plan: The quality plan should define the quality standards that will be used for the project, as well as the processes that will be used to ensure quality.
  • Developing key procedures: Key procedures should be developed for activities such as testing, inspection, and documentation.
  • Pre-qualifying the organization: The organization that will be responsible for delivering the project should be pre-qualified to ensure that they have the necessary skills and experience to meet the quality standards.
  • Developing the project strategy: The project strategy should include a commitment to quality.
  • Undertaking HRM forward planning: The project manager should plan for the human resources needs of the project, including the training and development of the project team.

Planning Phase

The planning phase is the second phase of the project lifecycle, and it is during this phase that the project manager and the team will develop the detailed plans for the project. Quality management should be integrated into the planning phase by:

  • Integrating quality aspects with the normal project management functions: Quality aspects should be considered throughout the planning process, from the definition of the scope to the development of the schedule and budget.
  • Each of the client’s needs should be traceable to a design feature in the planned products and services: This will help to ensure that the project deliverables meet the client's requirements.
  • Analysis and design progressively break complex needs into easily understood elements: This will help to identify potential quality problems early in the project.
  • Design decisions and detailed assumptions and constraints need to be recorded to form the baseline for project implementation: This will help to ensure that the project remains on track and that the quality standards are met.

By integrating quality management into the concept phase and the planning phase, the project manager can help to ensure that the project is delivered on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards.

The Project Quality Plan

The project quality plan is a document that describes how the project team will ensure the quality of the project deliverables. It is an important part of the project management plan, and it should be developed early in the project lifecycle.

The project quality plan should include the following information:

  • The quality standards that will be used for the project.
  • The processes that will be used to ensure quality.
  • The responsibilities of the project team members for quality.
  • The resources that will be dedicated to quality assurance.
  • The methods that will be used to monitor and control quality.
  • The procedures for dealing with defects.
  • The plan for continuous improvement.

The project quality plan should be tailored to the specific needs of the project. However, it should always include the following elements:

  • Document management: This section should describe how the project documents will be managed, including how they will be created, reviewed, approved, and distributed.
  • Management responsibilities: This section should identify the roles and responsibilities of the project manager, the project team members, and the stakeholders for quality assurance.
  • Quality system: This section should describe the overall quality management system that will be used for the project.
  • Contract review: This section should describe the process for reviewing and approving contracts to ensure that they meet the quality requirements of the project.
  • Design control: This section should describe the process for developing and controlling the project design to ensure that it meets the quality requirements.
  • Purchasing: This section should describe the process for purchasing goods and services to ensure that they meet the quality requirements of the project.
  • Document control: This section should describe the process for controlling the project documents to ensure that they are accurate and up-to-date.
  • Customer-supplied products: This section should describe the process for handling customer-supplied products to ensure that they meet the quality requirements of the project.
  • Product identification and traceability: This section should describe the process for identifying and tracking project deliverables to ensure that they can be traced back to the original design.
  • Process control: This section should describe the process for controlling the project processes to ensure that they meet the quality requirements.
  • Inspection, measuring, and test equipment: This section should describe the process for selecting, calibrating, and using inspection, measuring, and test equipment to ensure that they are accurate and reliable.
  • Inspection and test status: This section should describe the process for tracking and documenting the inspection and test results.
  • Control of nonconforming product: This section should describe the process for identifying and controlling nonconforming product to ensure that it does not enter the supply chain.
  • Corrective and preventive action: This section should describe the process for identifying and taking corrective and preventive action to improve quality.
  • Handling, storage, packaging, and delivery: This section should describe the process for handling, storing, packaging, and delivering project deliverables to ensure that they are not damaged.
  • Quality records: This section should describe the process for creating, maintaining, and storing quality records.
  • Quality audits: This section should describe the process for conducting quality audits to ensure that the quality management system is effective.
  • Servicing: This section should describe the process for servicing project deliverables to ensure that they meet the quality requirements over time.
  • Statistical techniques: This section should describe the use of statistical techniques to improve quality.

The project quality plan should be reviewed and updated as needed throughout the project lifecycle. It is an important tool for ensuring the quality of the project deliverables and for meeting the expectations of the stakeholders.

The quality management plan should answer the following questions:

  • What needs to go through a quality check?
  • What is the most appropriate way to check the quality?
  • When should it be carried out?
  • Who should be involved?
  • How will continuous improvement be fostered?

Now the project team can develop a quality management plan that is tailored to the specific needs of the project and that will help to ensure the quality of the project deliverables.

Guidance Points

  • Use generic procedures and documents where possible. This will save time and effort, and it will also ensure that the project is consistent with the organization's overall quality management system.
  • Show how generic procedures relate within the specific project. This will help to ensure that the project team understands how to apply the generic procedures to the specific project.
  • Choose an appropriate format and level of detail. The format and level of detail should be tailored to the specific project and its stakeholders.
  • Do not duplicate the information in the project management plan (PMP). The quality management plan should only include information that is specific to quality management.
  • Make the quality management plan a stand-alone document or annex to the PMP. This will make it easier to find and reference the information in the quality management plan.
  • Consider splitting the quality management plan into parts. This may be helpful for large or complex projects.
  • The quality management plan should be the subject of an assurance review and acceptance. This will help to ensure that the quality management plan is complete and accurate.
  • The quality management plan should be maintained and kept current by formal change management. This will ensure that the quality management plan is always up-to-date.

Implementation Phase

During the implementation phase, the project manager manages the implementation of the quality management plan. This includes:

  • Quality control: This involves ensuring that the project deliverables meet the quality requirements.
  • Quality assurance: This involves providing independent oversight of the project quality management system to ensure that it is effective.
  • Quality improvement: This involves identifying and implementing opportunities to improve the project quality management system.
  • Human resources aspects: This involves ensuring that the project team has the skills and knowledge necessary to implement the quality management plan.

Finalization Phase

The finalization phase involves closing out the project from the client's perspective and feeding the lessons learned into the corporate knowledge base. Specific quality-related activities in this phase include:

  • Summarizing quality results: This involves collecting and analyzing data on the project's quality performance.
  • Conducting a final customer satisfaction review: This involves gathering feedback from the client on the project's quality performance.
  • Communicating the corporate knowledge base: This involves sharing the lessons learned from the project with other projects and the organization as a whole.
  • Revising the corporate knowledge base: This involves updating the corporate knowledge base with the lessons learned from the project.

From the above information, the project manager can develop a quality management plan that is effective and efficient.

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