At the beginning, it will be useful to emphasize what is understood from the concept of quality. In two different sources, quality is defined as follows:
- Quality is the degree to which a commodity meets the requirements of the customer at the start of its life. (ISO 9000)
- Quality is the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements. (PMBOK Guide)
As a Project managers, We shall think of two types of quality: The first is project deliverables (product/service) quality and the second is process quality.
Project deliverables quality is highly affected by the process quality. Therefore, applied processes in the project should be defined very clearly and improved regularly. ISO 21500 can supplement ISO 9001 for quality management, especially in the area of continuous improvement: Fulfilling the necessary and wanted improvement processes in operations with minimal disturbance of the production and service processes.
Quality is an important subject group, applied at planning, implementing, and controlling process phases during the Project Life Cycle.
Projects aim meeting quality objectives like scope, time and cost objectives. Generally, at the planning phase, quality requirements needed to meet the project objectives are clearly defined under ”Plan Quality” title. But the same importance is not given to the clear definition of customer quality needs.
At the planning phase of project, Quality Management Plan should be prepared and then, executed as the project progresses.
Quality management plan is a part of Project management plan, consolidating all the quality information.
A quality management plan should contain the following parts:
- All steakholders’ roles and responsibilities should be defined in the project quality activities
- Standards and relevant documents, checklists, processes, organizational quality policies and processes, environmental factors (regulations, ethic rules etc.) should be used for meeting the quality requirements
- Tools, techniques and resources necessary to achieve the relevant standards
- Methodologies, techniques and resources to implement the planned systematic quality activities
- Detailed definition of activities for controlling quality, such as tests, reviews
- Detailed definition of activities for assuring quality, such as internal or external audits
- Timetable of quality activities, e.g; reviews, tests before end of phases
- Quality control measurements e.g; number of defects, review findings trends
Quality Management Plan is prepared with plan scope process (define scope, create wbs and define activities) simultaneously, thus quality activities can be handled together with subsequent planning processes which are time and cost planning. At the end of the planning phase, Quality Management Plan as a part of the Project Management Plan is approved by sponsor and shared with all relevant steakholders.
At the subsequent phase of project, If changes occur in the project plans, the quality management plan should be updated as well.
Finally, planning quality is major step for assuring quality, consequently, project success, customer satisfaction, and reputation.
ISO 21500 Guidance on Project Management a pocket guide
PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition
CMMI® for Development, Version 1.3