When you’re managing a project, the triple constraint should always be top of mind. But there’s a fourth concern that’s just as important, yet sometimes forgotten by some project managers as they go through the project planning phase—project quality management.
What Is Project Quality Management?
Project quality management is the process of defining quality standards for the deliverables of a project, as well as the quality assurance measures to guarantee those standards are met. However, quality can be an elusive word.
In project management, quality is simply what the customer or stakeholder needs from the project deliverables. Project quality management can be simply defined as the combination of quality planning, quality assurance and quality control activities. Project managers further define these for their project through a quality management plan.
In addition to a quality management plan, you’ll need the right project management software. ProjectManager offers the best project planning, scheduling and tracking tools for effective project quality management. Use Gantt charts, kanban boards, project calendars and other tools to keep track of project tasks, resources, project deliverables in real time. Get started for free.
What Is a Quality Management Plan?
A quality management plan is a document that helps project management teams establish quality planning, quality control and quality assurance procedures to maintain quality standards throughout the execution and completion of a project.
Now, let’s define the components of project quality management in more detail.
First, identify the quality requirements for your project deliverables and how the project needs to be managed. Agree on how this process will be documented and how that information will be delivered. Will you have regular meetings, emails, etc.?
The quality planning section will include these specifics as well as metrics for measuring the quality while managing the project. This should include a quality checklist to collect and organize the marks you need to hit during the project.
Quality control is the first step in project quality management. It consists of determining quality requirements for project deliverables and testing, inspecting and reporting to make sure they’re met.
While it’s similar to quality assurance (QA), the main difference between them is that quality assurance (QA) focuses on improving processes to maintain quality standards and prevent issues, while quality control (QC) focuses on inspecting and identifying issues.
The main role of quality control is to ensure rules are being followed and that the expected project quality standards are met. Some ways to ensure that the required quality of the deliverables is being achieved is through peer reviews and testing.
Quality assurance is the planned and systemic activities implemented in a quality system so that quality requirements for a product or service will be fulfilled.
Use quality assurance to ensure your processes are in fact working towards making the project deliverables meet quality requirements. Two ways to accomplish this are by using a process checklist and a project audit.
Key Elements of Project Quality Management
Project managers oversee the implementation of a project quality management plan. The main idea, again, is to deliver a product or service to the specifications of the customer or stakeholder. Doing so requires knowing quality management concepts.
Without customer satisfaction, there can be no quality. Even if a deliverable meets all aspects of what the customer or stakeholder has required but is done so where the process itself wasn’t satisfactory, there’s a problem.
Of course, the deliverable must meet those requirements, or else the project has failed because the product of the project and the management of the project didn’t meet the expectations of the customer or stakeholder.
That’s why implementing quality control means managing both processes and people. Meet with your customer or stakeholder regularly to keep them abreast of the project’s progress. Get their feedback and make sure that you’re fully transparent to avoid issues arising later.
Prevention Over Inspection
Quality doesn’t come for free. The Cost of Quality (COQ) is the money spent dealing with issues during the project, and then after the project, to fix any failures. These are broken up into two categories: cost of conformance and cost of non-conformance.
The cost of conformance can be considered a preventive cost. These costs are primarily related to training, the documentation process, the equipment needed, and the time required to get the quality done right. Other costs related to this can include testing, destructive testing loss and inspections.
The cost of nonconformance refers to internal failure costs. These consist of reworking something or even scrapping it entirely. Further costs can come from liabilities, warranty work and lost business.
The concept of quality project management is an ongoing effort to address improvements of the deliverables over time. Whether through small, incremental changes or large ones, the opportunity to identify and address change is always present.
Applying this concept also means constantly monitoring and documenting any issues that come up, so you can then use the lessons learned when managing future projects. This way, you run a more efficient project and likely won’t repeat mistakes.
Traditional Project Quality Management Tools
These project management charts are commonly used for project quality management.
- Project network diagrams: Project network diagrams allow project managers to map out project tasks and deliverables. This helps understand the activities required for each project deliverable, which greatly helps ensure quality at each step.
- Affinity diagrams: Affinity diagrams help project teams group ideas, information and data about project deliverables and products. This helps teams better understand the different quality requirements they need to look out for.
- Matrix diagrams: There are different matrix diagrams that can be used to establish relationships between deliverables and quality standards. They’re a great way to organize project quality management information.
- Process decision program charts: These charts are used to identify what could go wrong in a plan. In project quality management, they help project teams avoid problems and create countermeasures if quality assurance procedures were to fail.
- Interrelationship diagrams: Interrelationship diagrams allow project quality management teams to understand the different cause-and-effect relations between factors that affect the quality of project deliverables.
While these charts are a good alternative to managing project quality, using a project management software like ProjectManager is a much better alternative for project managers and team members.
ProjectManager offers dynamic tools such as Gantt charts, kanban boards, task lists and much more so project teams can stay on top of quality planning, assurance and control. On top of that, ProjectManager is fully online, so you can collaborate with team members anywhere, anytime.
Using ProjectManager to Manage Quality
Managing the process of project quality involves many things, such as setting quality targets for your team to meet, defining how to measure those quality targets and reporting on them. Project management tools like ProjectManager can prove helpful with this.
ProjectManager has online Gantt charts that make scheduling and monitoring tasks related to quality management simple. With ProjectManager, you can upload a task list or spreadsheet, which is then instantly populated on a timeline.
Our online Gantt charts also provide a great collaborative platform for your team. Each task is usually able to link to supporting documents, images and other files, as well as offer a dialogue where team members can talk about the task and resolve any issues that arise.
Quality is important in any project, and to ensure quality, the right tools are needed to monitor quality management. ProjectManager is online software with a real-time dashboard and an online Gantt chart that makes monitoring and reporting on quality easy. See for yourself by taking this free 30-day trial.