When it comes to quality, it means doing what you promised to do and doing it on time. Making sure you avoid making too many mistakes and keeping your project on track means making sure you are always creating the correct result.
It is well known that quality is essential, but its use in everyday life differs from its use in project management. To accomplish the other goals of your stakeholders, such as meeting their schedule and budget, you need to understand the acceptable quality levels.
What Is Quality Planning?
Planning is the key to success. Planning helps you decide what’s most important to your project and is one of the most critical aspects of quality management.
Quality planning is the method of deciding what’s most important to the project during the planning stage, so we can make sure that everything goes according to plan. That includes allocating resources needed to deliver the project, determining what you must take steps, and specifying requirements that need to be met. You should integrate quality goals and plans at the highest level with the organization's overall strategic plans. As organizational objectives and strategies are deployed throughout the organization, each function fashions its best way of contributing to top-level goals and objectives.
Quality plans assume their role at lower levels as actionable plans. It may take many different forms depending on the outcome they produce. Quality plans may also be represented by more than one type of document to produce a given result.
Why Is Quality Planning Important?
Quality planning is integral to project management because it helps you deliver a successful project and keep your stakeholders happy.
A project manager sets standards for what makes a project successful and defines the steps to reach those standards. Quality planning is only about the outcome, but it's part of the overall planning phase. It affects costs, scheduling, and more. A project manager sets standards for a project's success and defines steps to reach those standards.
Quality assurance is also essential during this phase. It includes audits, testing, and peer review, among other things. All these activities are done with stakeholder interviews to understand their expectations.
Quality Planning Tools
you can use seven essential quality tools to improve the quality of a product or service. They are known as Ishikawa's seven critical tools in quality. These tools are also referred to as 7QC
Cause-and-effect diagrams are called fishbone diagrams because they resemble a fish's skeleton. The head of the fish is the effect, and each bone of the fish is a cause that leads to that effect. The bones can branch into smaller bones as you determine the lower-level cause-effect relationships. When all the bones are filled in, the diagram lets you look at all the possible causes of the effect so that you can develop a solution to mitigate that effect. The diagram allows organized thought and encourages consideration of the factors that result in a particular outcome.
A cause-and-effect diagram is one example of a visual tool that can help you organize your thoughts and consider multiple factors more than if you were writing out sentences or paragraphs on paper. Visual tools like this allow you to see relationships between different things quickly and clearly, making it easier to solve problems by seeing where things connect.
Flowcharts help logical document steps within a process or system. When it comes to quality planning and control, flowcharts are a powerful tool. They can help you determine and analyze potential problems in your system and identify how to manage them.
The system flowchart is the most common type, which outlines the logical steps to complete a process. By documenting these logical steps, teams can identify where quality problems might occur and develop approaches to manage them. Flowcharts also help create a repeatable process.
A check sheet is a simple method of organizing information that makes it easy to gather data for inspection purposes. Check sheets can be practical for inspections because they enable you to focus on specific attributes that you are looking for and not get distracted by extraneous details.
Pareto charts, also known as Pareto diagrams, are a specific type of histogram based on Pareto’s principle, which states that a small number causes many defects or problems.
A Pareto diagram is an ordered bar graph showing the number of defects and their causes. The charts' bars individually show the number and percentage of reasons, and the line shows the cumulative value.
Pareto charts help focus attention on the most critical issues to get the most benefit.
Most operations experience a degree of normal variation (or common cause variation); that is, most processes do not consistently achieve target performance. Control charts provide a mechanism for establishing an objective range of acceptable variation around the target performance, thereby focusing attention on particular cause variations. Control charts determine if processes are in or out of statistical control.
We can determine if our process is in statistical control by plotting data points over time and comparing them with an upper and lower control limit. If any issues fall outside the boundaries, something significant has happened that could impact quality or performance.
A histogram is a handy tool for identifying common causes. You can use it to analyze the frequency distribution of data.
The histogram is a bar chart showing the number or percentage of measurements in each s identify cause because it shows how often certain events occur.
Histograms can be ordered (like a Pareto chart) or unordered. They're also known as frequency polygons and box plots, which are different names for the same thing.
A scatter diagram is a graph that shows the relationship between two variables. It plots the independent variable (X) against the dependent variable (Y). The X-axis represents the measured characteristic, and the Y-axis measures the other.
For example, you could plot people's heights against their weights on a scatter diagram to show how they're related.
You can use these tools in the quality management plan and control quality processes. Using these tools, you can identify problems within your organization and find ways to fix them. You also can use them to help you better understand what changes need to be made to improve your company's processes and products.
Quality Planning Techniques
There are various techniques used in quality planning. Some of the most used methods are discussed below.
It is used to measure the tradeoffs of providing quality. It is like a cost-benefit ratio.
Ratios indicate how the benefits and costs of proposed projects are related. Ratios can be expressed in monetary or qualitative terms. Generally, a project with a BCR more significant than 1.0 is significantly suited to a positive net present value for investors and the firm.
BCR can be applied when evaluating investments in various assets and projects. For example, You can use it for estimating the return on investment for asset purchase or for determining whether to proceed with an investment in research and development (R&D).
Cost of quality (COQ) is a term used in modern quality management to refer to the total costs associated with ensuring that a project meets its requirements, including the cost of conformance and nonconformance.
COQ is vital because it's often more expensive to fix mistakes after they've been made than it would have been to prevent them from happening in the first place. For example, if you have a software program that has bugs and need to fix them by hiring new programmers, that will be far more expensive than if you had hired people who knew what they were doing first!
Businesses must consider the cost of quality when planning projects to ensure they're not wasting money on fixing mistakes later.
Brainstorming is a technique for gathering information, where multiple unfiltered inputs and ideas are solicited and captured for later analysis and decision making.
The objective of brainstorming is to produce as many ideas as possible. The more ideas there are, the better the chance of finding a good idea.
Brainstorming sessions should be relaxed and informal. The group should not be concerned with evaluating or criticizing any idea; instead, they should focus on generating as many ideas as possible.
Participants also need to feel free to contribute their thoughts without fear of ridicule or judgment by others. Brainstorming is an excellent way for teams to generate new ideas about products, services, processes, etc.
Force Field Analysis
Force field analysis is a technique for analyzing ideas by grouping characteristics or factors pros and cons of the concept. In FFA, each aspect has a different strength: some are significant factors, others minor. The major ones significantly impact the idea, while the minor ones have a negligible effect.
The technique involves identifying the significant factors in favor of your idea, listing the minor ones in favor of it, then doing the same with elements against your view. Then you can compare how strong each of those groups has pros and cons and decide whether it's worth pursuing your idea further or not.
Nominal Group Technique
Have you ever been in a group where you were dying to share an idea, but you didn't want to be the one to say it out loud? Or maybe you had an idea, and then someone else said it, and you wish you had said it first?
If this sounds familiar, you might want to try a process called nominal group technique (NGT). NGT is an enhancement of brainstorming that adds mechanisms for ranking ideas. It assumes that a minor group (one that has agreed to work as a team) will produce better results than a group engaging in traditional brainstorming.
NGT collects anonymous input from group members and encourages discussion of all information. Then each member prioritizes the input items. The items are further prioritized based on their cumulative score.
Quality Planning Benefits
Everyone benefits from quality planning. That’s because everyone is invested in the project's success, and you need to understand and meet stakeholder expectations for that success to happen.
That’s a lot of time, money, and effort wasted! When you don’t do this, your stakeholders will be unhappy. And unhappy stakeholders mean that your project has failed.
Quality planning isn’t about making sure you’re meeting stakeholder expectations—it also helps you understand what those expectations are in the first place. It helps you plan out your schedule so that everyone knows what they need to do, when, and how to do it. It enables you to get buy-in from everyone who’s going to be involved with the project so that they feel involved and invested in its success. And quality planning ensures that your product or service will meet customer expectations. It is critical if you want them to return again and again!
How to Make a Quality Management Plan
Quality management ensures that project objectives are fulfilled with high-quality products, services, and processes. Quality Management Plans (QMPs) explain how the contractor will manage and implement project quality assurance and management activities. The contractor developed the QMP, reviewed by the customer, and approved by both parties.
The QMP describes how a project manager will implement quality management by defining quality methodology, standards, criteria, activities, expectations, tools, and resources needed for successful project execution. It also describes how the project manager will conduct reporting and corrective actions throughout the life cycle of an activity or product associated with a particular project or program.
Quality management planning should have the following attributes
- Deliverables and processes.
- Quality standards of deliverables.
- Customer satisfaction.
- Quality control.
- Process quality standards.
- Stakeholder expectations.
- Quality assurance.
You can use the following steps to create a quality plan.
- Create a document to understand the quality of the project.
- Divide the responsibilities for quality management.
- Determine the customer needs
- Document acceptance criteria.
- Create a product deployment pipeline.
- Implement quality control
- Take corrective actions
Things to Avoid When Quality Planning in Project Management
Planning is an ongoing process, and reviewing and revising your plan throughout the project is essential. You might have a program that you think is chiseled in stone, but it's better to think of it as a dry-erase board.
Making significant changes throughout the project may be more feasible than changing a large section. The former requires a series of small changes that lead to a more substantial change. One can quickly fix a minor mistake while correcting a more significant and perhaps more pervasive one.
When taking action to improve a situation, it is essential to avoid personalizing the issue. Impugning individuals is often unfair and leads to the demoralization of all team members. It is necessary to identify, characterize, and understand the situation.
Our Learners Also Ask
1. What is quality planning in project management?
Quality planning is figuring out how to measure the quality of your project and prevent defects. First, you must ensure your company has a quality policy that states how it measures rates across the organization. You should ensure your project follows the company policy and any government rules or regulations on planning quality for your project.
2. What is quality planning? Explain its process.
Quality planning is a structured process for developing products that ensure that the result meets customer needs. The tools and methods of quality planning are incorporated along with the technological tools for the product being developed and delivered.
Quality planning has been developed because, in the history of modern society, organizations have instead demonstrated a consistent failure to produce the goods and services that delight their customers.
A typical quality plan has the following process -
- Project establishment
- Customer identification
- Discovering customer needs
- Product development
- Process development
- Control transfer
3. What are the elements of quality planning?
A quality plan is a key to establishing your project's standards and ensuring those standards are met. You can include various components in a quality plan, but specific attributes are essential for any quality plan.
Let's look at those essential elements-
- Responsible management
- Documentation control
- Requirement gathering
- Design planning
- Development control
- Quality assurance
- Risk mitigation
- Quality audits
- Defect management
4. Why is quality planning important?
An ideal product should have no defects or significant differences between the customer's and buyer's purchases. It ensures that the best outcome is being developed and delivered to your customers. To achieve uniformity of output that meets specific customer or user requirements, measurable and verifiable standards must be strictly followed and consistently applied.
Quality can be achieved using modern tools like Six Sigma, Lean Manufacturing, TQM (Total Quality Management), HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points), ISO 9000, and many others. These tools help companies improve their quality management systems, improving customer satisfaction through better products and services.
5. What are the objectives of quality planning?
The Quality Management Plan (QMP) defines quality procedures for the project, determines how the project manager will manage quality throughout the project lifecycle, identifies project deliverables and processes to be managed using those policies, and delegates responsibilities for quality assurance.
The QMP should include:
- A description of the quality management system used in your organization.
- Quality objectives for each deliverable.
- Quality metrics will measure performance against those objectives, including a measurement baseline.
- Quality assurance activities during development.
- Quality assurance activities during production.
6. What are the four main elements of quality?
There are four components of quality. There are as follows -
Quality Control Planning
The process of planning quality control is a vital step in the production of goods or services. It involves identifying your quality goals, standards, and requirements and creating a plan to meet those goals. The strategy should also include procedures for checking whether the criteria have been met.
The next step in the process is quality control, where you physically inspect and test what you laid out in the planning stage to ensure it's obtainable. It should include checking that all materials are suitable for their intended use and that any instruments used are functioning correctly.
Quality assurance refers to reviewing the delivery process of services or the quality management of goods manufacturing. It involves looking at how things have been done and seeing if any issues need to be addressed before going forward with production or shipping.
Finally, we come to quality improvement! If you've followed these steps before (and hopefully you have!), then now is when it gets interesting: thoroughly review your findings from the last three components above and come up with a way to improve your methods going forward.
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A Quality Plan defines the quality assurance tasks to meet specific customer requirements and deadlines for a particular project or product. By identifying preventive activities, you can identify possible problems before they become major ones.
To prevent poor quality from occurring, a Quality Plan should identify potential sources and suggest methods for identifying them. In this way, everyone can comment on, criticize, and develop the Quality Control plan for the project, making sure they are involved in its accomplishments.
Learn more about Quality Planning in Project Management with Simplilearn’s PGP in Project Management. This program covers project, program, risk, quality, complexity management, customer-centric digital transformation, PMO implementation, and so much more. It is the perfect program to help you get started on your journey to becoming a Project Mangement Master.