In the late 80’s or early 90’s, quality management found its place within project management. Today, no one can deny the fact that project management has become quality driven. Everyone prefers not just project delivery but ‘quality’ project delivery.
Quality improvement, quality control, kaizen, valued added management etc – key elements in quality management are gaining grounds in project management these days. A large number of organizations are hugely investing on quality management professionals in order to ensure the level of quality in projects.
Six Sigma or lean implementation is an approach taken in order to ensure zero defects in projects. Constant improvement and elimination of errors are the desired results for all projects and therefore, quality management has emerged as a major factor in project management. In fact, project quality management is defined as a knowledge area of project management in PMBOK Guide. In this article, let’s have a look at quality management processes implemented in a project. Here is an evaluation of various aspects of quality management within project management.
What is Quality Management?
Quality management as the term suggests is all about managing quality in services. When it comes to project management, ensuring desired quality is the goal. The project delivery should ensure quality management. Here, quality doesn’t always mean perfection and high quality services, but maintaining consistency in quality across projects. The quality to be maintained in a project is decided by the stakeholders, owners and clients of the project. Quality standards are also defined based on organizational values and standards. A quality management process is introduced in a project towards quality planning, quality assurance and quality control.
Quality Characteristics to be maintained in Project Management
In a project, quality characteristics are defined by the stakeholders. Some of the most common quality characteristics are performance, functionality, suitability, reliability, consistency and more. The levels of quality in these terms are measured as per project and organizational standards. From project initiation and processes to project delivery, each should be measured in terms of quality standards. In project deliveries, various things like computers, project equipment, team etc., too matter in terms of ensuring quality characteristics as desired. Thus, quality management should be in place from the beginning of a project till the end.
What are the different phases in Quality Management?
Quality management involves typically three phases – Quality Planning, Quality Assurance and Quality Control.
- Quality Planning: Here, the quality plan is created. Every plan should have a desired objective or goal and quality plan is no exception. The goal of quality management should be clearly communicated to all the stakeholders in a project. After the goal is defined, the measures to ensure the level of standard should be worked out. How will the customers be satisfied? What is the level of quality that the stakeholders are expecting? How to determine if the quality measures will lead to project success? When all the answers to these questions are in place, tasks should be delegated to respective team members and quality plan is initiated.
- Quality Assurance: This is a process that moves along with project throughout the lifecycle. Quality assurance is all about evaluating if a project is moving towards delivering quality services. If all the quality characteristics are in place the quality plan can proceeding in an effective manner. When quality goals are not achieved or are not in the process of getting achieved, necessary steps and corrective actions should be identified. Ensuring corrective actions too falls in the phase of quality assurance.
- Quality Control: Here, operational techniques are used in order to ensure quality standards. Any time a problem arises relating to quality or if the quality plan is not executed in the desired manner, corrective actions should be effective. Quality control involves monitoring project results and delivery to check if they are meeting desired results or not. If not then alternative actions should be implemented.
This is how, quality management is ensured in project management. By following the quality management phases, projects are worked upon towards delivering desired results. Thus it ensures quality standards that are defined and are a must in today’s project management world.