Quality is the first and foremost element that needs to be in the project to make it successful. In order to ensure the quality of the project, Project Quality Management is one of the ten knowledge areas of project management as explained by Project Management Industry (PMI).
Project Quality management is all about maintaining the quality of project throughout so as to get a quality product. As quality of the project is highly affected by different challenges such as inadequate research, inefficient plan and incapable team, it needs to be properly planned so it can be ensured from start until end of the project.
After all of this, the major question that comes to mind is: How to ensure the quality of the project? What are the major steps that can be taken and what will be their results? As you read down, you will come across eleven major steps to implement project quality management for your project.
Plan Quality Management
1. Analyze Current Project Documents
Analyzing current documents of the project that you already have with you can help with coming up with better information regarding different dimensions of the project such as opportunities, risks, challenges, stakeholder interests etc.
You need to analyze these documents:
a) Project Charter
Project Charter helps in determining quality standards that are linked to the success criteria of the project. It is important consider project charter to make sure no measurable project object/ requirement is ignored.
b) Project Management Plan
Small management plans for the project are important to be considered and analyzed to get the quality requirements. These are:
- Requirements Management Plan: It can be used to get the information regarding identification, analysis and management of the requirements that were considered in the initial steps of the project.
- Risk Management Plan: It can be really important to research and revise the risks, challenges and uncertainties that appeared to be downgrading the quality of the project.
- Stakeholder Engagement Plan: It helps in extracting the information regarding the methods that were used to document all the needs and requirements of the project stakeholders.
- Requirements traceability matrix: It can tell how the link was created between product requirements and deliverables and if it proved to be good for implementation.
- Risk register: It includes all the risks and opportunities that can influence the quality of the project greatly, and so is an important document to consider for planning.
- Stakeholder register: It is also an important document as it identifies the interests and needs of the project stakeholders. Plan for the quality of the project must meet the interest of the stakeholders.
Therefore, analyzing these documents can help in better planning for quality management.
2. Planning For Quality Management
Once the above-mentioned documents are analyzed, coming up with a plan for quality management is the next step. It requires identifying the quality requirements for the project and then define the plan accordingly. This step helps in finding out the right standards of the project and deliverables.
The approaches and activities that can help in coming up with the plan for quality management include the following:
a) Data gathering
Data is gathered to ensure no important information regarding any requirement or risk is left behind. Data gathering can be done through:
- Benchmarking: In order to measure the project performance, comparison of practices or services of the project can be done with some old reference projects. This comparison approach is called as Benchmarking.
- Brainstorming: Brainstorming sessions with teams and quality experts can be held in order to come up with different ideas for quality maintenance.
- Interviews: Interviews can be done with project stakeholders and clients to know what are the quality standards of the project they look forward to.
b) Data analysis
Once you have gathered the data, it is easier to analyze it. Data analysis can be done using Cost-benefit analysis. In this process, a proper balance is achieved between cost and the benefits of ensuring quality implementation.
c) Data representation
Data representation is done to examine data integrity, finding the utmost quality requirements and estimating the costs of the quality management. It further identifies the defects and required improvements. It can be done through:
- Flowcharts should be made to study activities, decision points and branching possibilities to improve the plan.
- Matrix diagrams can be utilized when you have identified the causes, objectives and other relevant entities of the project. The strength of their relationship can be explored by putting them in matrices.
- Using mind mapping activity, all the ideas extracted from the information are mapped around the central idea to ensure if they really fit in the process.
d) Test and inspection planning
Test and inspection planning is very useful approach to test and inspect the project outcomes to see if they are in accordance with stakeholder’s interests and project goals.
Meetings must be organized with team members and project stakeholders to let everyone contribute their ideas and experiences which can help with better quality plan.
3. Develop Quality Management Plan
Finally, we get a Quality Management Plan that includes all the important roles and guidelines that help achieve quality of the project. Some of the main aspects of Quality Management Plan are:
- Quality objectives for the project.
- Quality standards that need to be met.
- Quality roles and responsibilities of the team.
- Quality management activities to improve project quality.
- Quality tools to fulfill the objectives and activities of the project.
4. Produce Quality Metrics
In the next step, quality metrics are produced. Quality metrics are the specific criterion for each aspect that conform the quality process.
Managing the quality of the project is an integral part of Project Quality Management. Once you have come up with Quality Management Plan, it is important to do some tests and evaluations to ensure that plan is good enough to maintain project quality.
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5. Perform Quality Activities
In order to manage the quality of the project and to do tests and evaluations, several quality activities can be performed. These include:
a) Data gathering
Checklists help in ensuring that all the guidelines are followed properly and all the responsibilities are met accordingly.
b) Data analysis
- Process analysis: Once the plan is developed, process analysis can help with the different opportunities can improve the process.
- Root cause analysis: If there is any loophole left in the plan, root cause analysis helps in coming up with a solution.
c) Data representation
- Affinity diagrams is a healthy activity to make a group of deficiencies in the process and focus on them.
- Cause and effect diagrams helps with breaking down of the problem into little pieces and then identify its root cause.
- Flowcharts must be used to determine the underlying problem through series of steps.
6. Perform Audits
When you are done with quality activities, audits is the next step. Performing audits is an organized yet independent process that takes into account the project current activities. These are then complied with project policies, processes and ongoing procedures. It helps in identifying the good and bad activities going on in the project as well as covers the gaps and loopholes.
7. Perform Quality Improvement
With the help of audits, quality improvement can be done. By performing quality improvement, new improvement opportunities can be recognized and implemented. These new improvements make the project quality process quite efficient and with less risks.
8. Prepare Reports
By the analysis of audit and quality improvement, reports can be produced. These reports take into account all the extracted information from audits and quality improvements. They include all the identified issues by project team, recommendations and corrective actions. Once formulated, these reports are used to achieve the project quality expectations. These reports can be made graphically, numerically or qualitatively.
Control Quality is the last element of Project Quality Management that effectively puts together the idea of quality with its proper execution. Control Quality works to verify that project and deliverables are in accordance with the quality requirements as set by Quality Management Plan and various project reports.
9. Perform Quality control
Performing and maintain control over quality is an important step. Only if this step is performed, it ensures that all the processes have the sole purpose of improving project quality. The tools for performing quality control are:
Use checklists to control the activities in an organized manner.
Inspection is done to conform the performed activities to documented ones. They also verify if defects are repaired.
c) Testing/Product Evaluations
In order to make sure that products are totally as per the project requirements, product evaluation is done. These tests can be done once you have inspected the activities. Also, evaluating final deliverables at the end of project is extremely important.
10. Implement Change Requests
There are many changes that are needed. These are identified in the Control Quality process such as any improvement or repairing of defects. These are followed by implementation of the change requests. They further help in improving control over project quality.
11. Update Project Documents
As a result of performing quality control and implementing change requests, project documents need to be updated with the newest information. Hence, the last step is to update project documents. The two important documents are:
a) Issue log
If any deliverable does not meet the quality standards, it is recognized as an ‘issue’. Then, it is pit into an issue log.
b) Lessons learned register
In this document, all the changes recommendations and approaches that either failed or worked well are listed.
If all of the above-mentioned steps are followed and implemented properly, Project Quality Management becomes relatively easy. The risks and challenges are lessened. In this way, the project is completed quite successfully as per interests of project stakeholders.