Project Quality Management

Quality management of gearbox

The importance of quality in project management cannot be overstated. Effective project quality management ensures that your team consistently delivers quality products and services. Your customers will take notice, and continue to rely on you for transparent, efficient, and quality work.

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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. Quality management processes help to control the cost of a project, establish standards, and determine the steps to achieving and confirming those standards. Effective quality management of a project also lowers the risk of product failure or unsatisfied, unhappy clients.

Project quality management happens with these three processes:

  1. Quality planning
  2. Quality assurance
  3. Quality control

Project quality management plan

While most project managers intend to create the best possible product or service, even the most skilled, educated teams with the most modern tools may fail without the right project quality management plan in place.

Measuring quality may seem like something you can’t do until after the project is complete. However, project quality management is something that should be planned into the project from the beginning, and monitored throughout with these three quality management processes.

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 is a process that provides evidence to the stakeholders that all quality-related activities are being done as defined and promised. It ensures that safeguards are in place to guarantee that all expectations will be met with regard to quality outputs. Quality assurance is done to the products and services delivered by a project, as well as the processes and procedures used to manage the project. It can be done through systems such as a process checklist or a project audit.

Quality assurance tests use a system of metrics to determine whether or not the quality management 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, and suggests methods of improvement. 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.

Quality control can also ensure that the project is on budget and on schedule. Monitoring the project outputs can be done through peer reviews and testing. By catching deliverables that aren’t meeting the agreed upon standards throughout, you’ll be able to simply adjust your direction rather than having to entirely redo certain aspects.

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Benefits of project quality management:

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:

Matrix diagrams

A matrix diagram is used to analyze data within an organization's structure. The matrix diagram shows the relationships between objectives, factors, 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.

Quality management software

Project quality management is multifaceted. Your team must: have a clear understanding of the quality expectations; determine how you will measure whether you’re meeting those expectations; and implement any necessary changes along the way. The ideal work management platform allows you to track all of these aspects in one, easy-to-use place.

Workfront’s proofing tools streamlines review and approval processes  to ensure quality and avoid costly mistakes. You’ll slash time traditionally wasted tracking down approvals, and aggregate feedback in one centralized hub for team members and stakeholders to access in real-time.