To control anything, including quality, there must be a plan. Quality planning is about defining the products required of the project, with their respective quality criteria, quality methods (including effort required for quality control and product acceptance) and the quality responsibilities of those involved.
Quality control focuses on the operational techniques and activities used by those involved in the project to:
- Fulfill the requirements for quality (for example, by quality inspections or testing)
- Identify ways of eliminating causes of unsatisfactory performance (for example, by introducing process improvements as a result of lessons learned).
It is good practice to arrange for quality assurance independent of the project management team. Quality assurance provides a check that the project’s direction and management are adequate for the nature of the project and that it complies with relevant corporate or programme management standards and policies. Quality assurance activities are outside the scope of PRINCE2® as it is the responsibility of the corporate or programme organization. Quality assurance is about independently checking that the organization and processes are in place for quality planning and control (i.e. not actually performing the quality planning or control, which will be undertaken by the project management team). It provides the project’s stakeholders with confidence that the quality requirements can be fulfilled. The term ’quality assurance’ is used in two senses:
- As the function within an organization (or site or programme) that establishes and maintains the quality management system
- As the activity of reviewing a project’s organization, processes and/or products to assess independently whether quality requirements will be met.
The Quality Management Strategy
The Quality Management Strategy is prepared during the Initiating a Project process and approved subsequently by the Project Board. It augments the project approach and can be regarded as the project management team’s proposals in response to the customer’s quality expectations and acceptance criteria. The Quality Management Strategy describes how the quality management systems of the participating organizations will be applied to the project and confirms any quality standards, procedures, techniques and tools that will be used. Where models and standards are to be tailored, the tailoring should also be outlined in the Quality Management Strategy for approval. The Quality Management Strategy also provides a means by which the levels of formality to be applied in the quality plans and controls can be scaled and agreed according to the particular needs of the project. It should outline the arrangements for quality assurance, including independent audits where these are required by the policies of the participating organizations. Key responsibilities for quality should be defined (both within and outside the project management team), including a summary of the approach to Project Assurance. Where there is already an established quality management system for projects, for example in a programme, only the measures specific to this project may need to be documented. The Quality Management Strategy is maintained, subject to change control, throughout the life of the project.