Project Quality Management: A Guide to Processes and Techniques
The importance of quality management 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.
In this project quality management guide you will discover,
- What is project quality management?
- Project quality management plan
- Benefits of project quality management
- Quality management tools
- Quality management software
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 team achieves the desired quality. Quality management processes help to:
- Control the cost of a project
- Establish standards to aim for
- Determine steps to achieve standards
Effective quality management of a project also lowers the risk of product failure or unsatisfied clients.
Project quality management plan.
Most project managers intend to create the best possible product or service. But 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 should be planned from the beginning and monitored throughout with these three quality management processes:
- Quality planning
- Quality assurance
- Quality control
A good quality management plan starts with a clear definition of the goal of the project. First, be clear on what the product or deliverable is supposed to accomplish. Then, ask yourself:
- What does it look like?
- What is it supposed to do?
- How do you measure customer satisfaction?
- How do you determine whether 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.
- Assessing the risks to success
- Setting high standards
- Documenting everything
Also key is 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 to report and track quality metrics.
Quality assurance provides evidence to stakeholders that all quality-related activities are being done as defined and promised. It ensures safeguards are in place to guarantee all expectations regarding quality outputs will be met.
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. The team can do this through systems such as a process checklist or a project audit.
Quality assurance tests use a system of metrics to determine whether the quality management plan is proceeding acceptably. 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. 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 in project management.
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. It occurs after a problem has been identified and suggests methods of improvement.
It measures specific project outputs and determines compliance with applicable standards. It also identifies project risk factors, their mitigation, and ways to prevent and eliminate unsatisfactory performance.
Quality control can also ensure the project is on budget and on schedule. You can monitor project outputs through peer reviews and testing. By catching any deliverables failing to meet the agreed standards throughout, you can simply adjust direction rather than having to entirely redo certain aspects.
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Benefits of project quality management:
- Quality products. Ensuring you and the project team check the quality of the project means the product will go through multiple development processes. This will help to deliver a final product that meets customer expectations.
- Customer satisfaction. Tackling problems in real-time and communicating with the customer will ensure they’re up to date and aware of any issues. Incremental customer feedback can also help you to deliver a better final product.
- Increased productivity. With a project quality management system everyone knows deadlines and what is needed in advance. Having set deadlines, meetings, and reports can influence the project team to hit targets early to keep the project on track.
- Financial gains. Projects can run over budget if good quality management is absent. By having the three processes in place — planning, assurance, and control — you can tackle problems before they cut into your budget.
- Removes silos. Boost collaboration between teams with project quality management tools. Being able to easily see where each team is up to and using meetings to discuss feedback between departments can remove departmental silos.
Quality management tools.
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.
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 help plan for these scenarios.
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 affect.
Use these during brainstorming sessions to evaluate issues based on set criteria to create a prioritized list of items. It helps to identify what issues may arise and determines the problems to prioritize to meet objectives.
A visual representation of a project’s schedule. This helps plan the project from start to finish. It illustrates the scope and the critical path of the project. The two types of network diagrams are:
- Arrow diagram
- Precedence diagram
A matrix diagram is used to analyze data within an organization’s structure. It 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 matrix diagrams and their use cases:
- L-shaped matrix. Creates a relationship between two items.
- T-shaped matrix. Creates a relationship between three groups of items.
- Y-shaped matrix. Creates a relationship between three groups of items, but it is displayed in a circular diagram.
- C-shaped matrix. Creates a relationship within three groups of items, and it is displayed in 3D.
- X-shaped matrix. Creates a relationship between four groups of items.
Quality management software.
Project quality management is multifaceted. Your team must:
- Clearly understand the quality expectations
- Determine how you will measure whether you’re meeting those expectations
- Implement any necessary changes along the way
The ideal work management platform allows you to track these aspects in one easy-to-use place.
Workfront’s proofing tools streamline 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.
Frequently asked questions about project quality management.
Why is project quality important?
Project quality is important for many reasons. Primarily the success and reputation of your business depends on your ability to successfully deliver projects. If you deliver a failed project to client, it’s likely they’ll avoid working with you in the future. Also, a poorly run project will drain internal resources and waste time and money. Without a system in place to measure your project’s performance, you often find out too late that it has failed.
What are the main processes of project quality management?
There are three main processes of project quality management. These are Quality Planning, Quality Assurance, and Quality Control. Planning is focused on shaping a clear goal/s for the project. Assurance uses tests, metrics, and checklists to demonstrate to stakeholders the project is running as it should. Quality content is all about identifying solutions to problems relating to quality.
What is the best way to manage project quality?
The best way to manage project quality is it invest in a project quality management system and follow the three principles of quality management — planning, assurance, and control. The right software will enable you to set clear roles, tasks, and deadlines. By centralizing production in one place, keeping track of client feedback, amends and sign off will be much easier.