Topic 8.2: Quality management plan

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Quality assurance and quality control are two terms you will often hear thrown about in projects.

Although you may hear them used interchangeably, each has a specific meaning and implication for practice.

Quality assurance refers to the project management processes we have been discussing throughout this Module. 

As such, it refers to things like the project management plan, deliverable status, schedule progress, costs incurred and the like.

It is the responsibility of the project manager, steering committee and PMO to assure that the organisation’s standards for the management of projects are consistently adhered to and met.

Quality control, on the other hand, refers to the product-oriented processes and outcomes of the project. 

Quality control effectively ensures that scope is being adhered to and issues are minimised.

In many instances, though, the project manager is unlikely to have the technical expertise necessary to make formal judgments about the quality of the product, service or result being delivered by the project, and must rely on expert advice (often from the client).

Although we do not cover product-oriented processes in this course – mainly because they are unique to each industry and project – it is the responsibility of the project manager to ensure that regular audits are conducted to guarantee that performance to scope is being maintained, and that the overall risk profile of the project is up-to-date.

A number of PM methodologies demand separate quality management plans within the overall project plan.

You can also over-plan your projects

On one level this makes sense – we do need to program a series of tasks to assure processes are being followed and that the quality of the deliverable is on-specification.

That said, I would counsel against preparing a quality management plan separate to the elements of project plan already discussed.

Quality is so integral to the planning and delivery processes that it should be embedded as a series of in-line tasks in the WBS, schedule and budget – remember the 100% rule!

That is not to say that you cannot independently cluster the quality management activities in the hierarchy of the WBS. That may in fact be quite useful if one specific team member has overall responsibility for them.

The parallel development of a quality management plan should be redundant if each WBS task has detailed acceptance criteria that include auditable scope, time and cost (quality) metrics.