Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video What is project quality?, part of Project Management Foundations: Quality.
- "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder" is a phrase you're probably familiar with. One of the challenging things that we face as project managers is there are a lot of "beholders" who will judge the beauty of the products you produce with your project. Beauty, in the language of projects, is the quality of what you produce. So, let's examine project-quality related definitions and processes, and the importance of having a quality plan.
Project quality can be defined as a product or service that has the ability to perform satisfactorily and is suitable for its intended purpose. If you build a great product, but it's not fit for purpose, that is, it's not suitable for its intended purpose, then the project has failed to meet its quality objectives. The following three processes are pivotal to project quality: project-quality management, quality control, and project-quality assurance.
Here is information on each of these processes. In project quality management, you identify and document the quality requirements and/or standards that are relevant to your project, and how to satisfy those standards. Quality control is the process to review and record specific project quality activities to assess performance and recommend changes during the course of your project. Quality control is about managing a process to ensure a predictable outcome result.
An example of quality control would be examining the glass in a revolving door to ensure it meets safety standards. The project quality assurance process is about obtaining overall confidence that a product or service will be acceptable to your client. With quality assurance, you are auditing the project quality requirements, and the results from quality-control activities. Quality assurance occurs periodically throughout a project, in contrast to quality-control, which happens frequently throughout the project, sometimes even daily.
These quality processes are important to ensure you deliver appropriate products. They need to be documented, agreed, and understood by a project-quality plan. The plan should include the following information: your quality goals and objectives, the approach and quality processes to be followed, quality standards by which the project will be measured, the quality-related activities to be performed, the quality tools you will use, and the quality roles and responsibilities you will deploy.
This quality plan becomes the road map for how the quality standards will be achieved. Lastly, there is a term I'd like to explain, and that is grade. Grade represents the set of features and characteristics a product possesses, but is different from quality. For instance, a product can be high-grade, or high-end, or low-grade, or low-end. It is perfectly acceptable for a product to be low-grade as long as it fulfills its stated requirements.
On the other hand, a low quality product is always a problem. Every product must be of high quality regardless of its grade. A low quality product is never desired. For example, I could purchase a low-grade vehicle, that is very basic, with minimal features. If the vehicle is reliable, and the fuel efficiency matches the advertised values, I would consider the vehicle of high quality. However, a customer's expectations of a Cadillac would be much different.
That is a high-grade product. However, if the car's fancy automatic seat-adjustment mechanism failed frequently, it would be of low quality. Quality swirls around our projects. If you manage it effectively, you can maximize your quality activities to help you build things of beauty everyone will love.
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- Define project quality.
- Identify quality-planning components.
- Perform quality assurance.
- Examine the cost of quality.
- List types of quality tools.
- Describe the tenets of Pareto analysis.
- Explain the House of Quality approach.
- Apply Lean Six Sigma.
- Test deliverables and roles.