In today’s fast-paced business environment, delivering quality projects on time and within budget is a must. However, in the rush to meet deadlines, the importance of project quality is often overlooked. It is imperative to understand that quality is not just a process, but rather a mindset that drives the success of any project.
Maintaining high project quality from the start can result in flawless deliverables, while poor quality can put your business in a bad light. This is where project quality management comes in.
In this blog, we will delve deeper into the world of project quality management, exploring the benefits, key elements, and various tools used to ensure high-quality project outcomes.
So, whether you are a project manager, team lead, or simply interested in learning more about project quality management, join us on this journey to own the success of your projects by keeping your focus on project quality.
What Is Project Quality Management?
Project quality management is the process of managing and maintaining quality throughout a project. Unlike popular perception, quality does not indicate perfection. The truth is nothing can be perfect. We can just try to make things better than they were before!
In general, quality management in project management aims to meet the quality standards set by the higher management or external customers. The project activities have to be designed and executed, keeping the quality standards in mind.
Quality requirements can differ from project to project, depending on the teams involved and the expectations set. Project managers are usually responsible for the processes related to quality management. In other cases, it can be the responsibility of quality experts or quality assurance experts.
Still wondering how quality can differ from project to project?
Well, while managing project quality, the definition of quality is kept to what the stakeholder or customer expects from the project deliverables. Meeting the requirements mentioned in the beginning and the expectations set by the customers means you are maintaining the quality of the project at hand.
Here, it’s important to understand that quality is a relative parameter, not an absolute one.
This is because quality is not exactly an attribute of a project, product, or service. There are various perspectives involved in defining quality – the customers’ perspectives, the team’s perspectives, the comparison of the project with other projects, and more. So, what’s acceptable for one client may not be for others.
But what is the need to perform project quality management?
Let’s understand this in the next section.
4 Proven Benefits of Project Quality Management
Here are 4 proven benefits of managing project quality. Take a look.
1. Earn & Maintain Customer Confidence
Have you eaten in a restaurant and got so delighted by the meal and services that you want to come back to the same place?
The scenario is totally relatable. We see examples like this all around, where people stay loyal to a vendor, retailer, or service provider, just because they are getting exactly what they want and sometimes more than what they expect.
Quality is at the core of such customer experiences.
Incorporating quality and maintaining it throughout the project management process is paramount to gaining customers’ trust and confidence. It shows that your team members are working with all their might to achieve the quality standards they have put in place.
When customers know that your processes are high quality, there is no scope for confusion or blame games.
2. Reduce the Chances of Project Failure & Rework
One of the significant benefits of managing project quality management is that it minimizes the chances of project failure and rework since you follow the set procedures and guidelines from the very beginning.
Keeping a watch on a project’s quality helps you identify common problems repeatedly occurring along with their root cause. You can then take corrective actions on time to ensure that the project deliverables are free of errors and match the quality standards set by customers or internal teams.
3. Conduct Consistent Improvement
Committing to manage project quality and making it a single, non-negotiable goal is vital to get the best out of your employees. When you work on a project, there are things that go well and things that can be done better.
Quality management across all stages of project management brings consistent improvement as you progress. It helps you improve in every project phase, evaluates what went right and what went wrong, and accordingly takes your next steps.
Keeping a constant check on the project’s quality brings the entire project, including the minor details, into focus. This helps your team give their best and achieve impeccable deliverables as the project reaches completion.
4. Reduce Time & Cost on Future Projects
Quality management in project management compels you to get things done in the best possible way. You utilize the learning from a specific project (even if it was a failure) and implement it in future projects. This allows for continuous improvement. Over time, you’ll see a reduction in these errors and a significant improvement in the way projects are executed. As a result, fewer errors and more efficient team members help you reduce the cost of future projects and the time your team spends working on them.
Now that you’ve understood the benefits of project quality management, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the key elements of a project quality management plan.
3 Key Elements of a Project Quality Management Plan
A project quality management plan is a document that outlines the project’s quality objectives, the procedures that will be used to achieve those objectives, and how quality will be monitored and controlled throughout the project lifecycle.
The plan provides a roadmap for project managers to ensure that the project meets the quality standards required by the stakeholders.
Here are its key elements.
1. Quality Planning
Have you heard of the adage – “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”?
Projects started without planning are prone to catastrophic failure.
To create an effective quality plan, the goals need to be defined and clearly communicated by the project’s stakeholders. Based on the goals, assign the right tasks to the right teams, and state the quality requirements expected from the project members.
2. Quality Assurance
Once you have laid down the guidelines to meet the quality requirements, evaluate all activities to support quality standards until project completion.
Quality assurance in project management is an integral part of a project’s life cycle. This phase allows you to take corrective measures and necessary steps if things do not proceed as planned. Ensure that every task goes through stringent quality checks so that the ultimate deliverable comes out error-free.
For example, a software development team might implement automated tests to ensure that the code meets the project’s quality standards, and conduct regular code reviews to identify any issues.
Also, when you come across quality standards being neglected, take timely steps to mend the issues and prevent them from happening in the future.
3. Quality Control
For quality control in project management, the project team or other designated team monitors the project activities to ensure that the deliverables meet the set expectations and standards defined in the first phase.
If the quality management process and the final deliverables are not in alignment with the quality expectations, necessary changes must be made to keep the project from failing.
This includes reviewing the deliverables for defects, identifying the root cause of any issues, and taking corrective action as required. For example, a manufacturing company might use statistical process control to monitor the quality of the products being produced and make adjustments to the manufacturing process as needed to ensure that quality standards are being met.
Quality control in project management should ideally be done at every step of the project. Doing it, at last, makes no sense, as the deliverable is already ready by then.
Also, when Quality Control is implemented during the process, it gives you a chance to make improvements and adjustments right when they are required.
Let’s now dive in to understand what a project quality management plan entails.
What Is a Project Quality Management Plan?
A project quality plan describes the activities, methodologies, standards, and procedures required for achieving high-quality deliverables that meet the project goals and stakeholder expectations.
To be properly maintained and followed, the standards and procedures stated in the quality management plan should be practical. They should be reasonable enough for your team to follow them and achieve the desired quality results.
Here’s how a project quality management plan is created:
Step 1: Write down all the things that the customers want in the project. To get an in-depth understanding, get answers to questions like:
What does project success mean to the team and the stakeholders?
What are the mandatory areas of the project where quality should be given utmost importance?
How would you measure project quality?
Also, keep in mind the unstated demands and requirements that are merely common sense.
Step 2: Create a quality checklist and inform your team about its importance. This gives your team a sense of ownership and responsibility toward the project.
They can use the checklist to verify that all requirements have been met and that the project is ready for delivery. A well-structured quality checklist saves time, avoids mistakes, and helps maintain consistency throughout the project. Share the checklist with your team and emphasize its importance to ensure everyone understands their role in delivering a high-quality project.
Step 3: Assign tasks and delegate responsibilities to the team members. Track the team’s performance by checking how much time they spend on each project and task, the progress they’ve made so far, and more.
Here is where using a simple project management software like ProProfs Project comes in.
You can set up the project dashboard by adding tasks, setting due dates, and assigning team members.
You can even track the accurate time spent by a team member on a task using the platform.
This prevents micromanaging and enables you to monitor team activity effortlessly.
Using a project management tool is essential for maintaining project quality while staying on top of all project-related activities. The tool offers multiple project views, including Gantt, Kanban, and Calendar views, allowing you to track progress in real-time. Thus, by using such a tool, you can focus on the quality of the project and ensure that all tasks and activities are on track.
Step 4: Have a quality testing method to assess the quality at each step and ensure the project output is exactly as the client expects.
One of the biggest mistakes project managers make is believing that once there is a plan, it can’t be changed. While executing the project, if you discover a better way of doing things, do not hesitate to modify the plan.
6 Project Quality Management Tools
There are some tools commonly used in quality management to identify pitfalls and make process improvements.
Let’s look at the six popular tools that can help you assess the quality of your project and improve it when you still have time.
- Affinity Diagrams: A visual tool that helps in organizing and categorizing ideas, issues, or problems into related groups. It helps in identifying patterns and relationships among the data.
- Process Decision Program Charts: A tool that helps in identifying and analyzing different decision options to determine the best course of action.
- Interrelationship Diagrams: A tool that helps in identifying and analyzing the relationship between different factors, issues, or problems. It helps in identifying the root cause of problems.
- Prioritization Matrices: A tool that helps in prioritizing different options based on specific criteria. It helps in making informed decisions.
- Network Diagrams: A tool that helps in identifying and analyzing the dependencies between tasks in a project. It helps in managing the project schedule effectively.
- Matrix Diagrams: A tool that helps in identifying and analyzing the relationship between different factors, issues, or problems. It helps in identifying the cause-and-effect relationships between different factors.
Project quality management tools play a critical role in ensuring that the project meets the desired quality standards and customer requirements. It is essential to choose the right tool for the right purpose and use it effectively to achieve project quality management goals.
Quality Management: Indispensable for Project Success
Now that you have understood how to define the project requirements and quality criteria, you must stick to them diligently throughout the project.
Have a project blueprint created after a thorough discussion with the clients or internal stakeholders. Sit with your project team, and develop a practical approach to manage project quality as per the processes and standards defined in the blueprint.
Frequently Asked Questions
You can use a robust project management software to plan and execute projects efficiently while ensuring quality and controlling results. The tool helps delegate tasks and monitor how well the team follows the plan to meet the customers’ quality expectations.
Q1: What techniques are used for project quality management?
Tools like Gantt Charts, flow charts, Pareto Chart, Checksheets, and many more are quite helpful in analyzing the quality of projects and tasks and taking corrective actions on time. You can use them to identify project flaws, existing gaps, or possible problems that the project might encounter.
Leverage this data to make informed decisions on time and ensure top-notch project quality management.
Q2: How do you create a project quality plan?
Start by identifying the quality expectations of the stakeholders. Once you know the quality expectations, create a quality checklist and share it with your team. Assign tasks and delegate responsibilities to the right team members. Don’t forget to incorporate a quality testing method to keep a check on project quality.
Q3: What are the main characteristics of project quality management?
The main characteristics of project quality management are:
- Single, definable outcome or result
- Project planning and monitoring
- Quality assurance and quality control
- Risk avoidance and management
- Reliability and consistency
Q4: What are the quality requirements in project management?
Quality requirements in project management are the standards or expectations set by the client or internal stakeholders. Such requirements are defined in the beginning to allow teams to create a project plan that shows them the right path to achieve the expected quality goals.
The quality criteria help teams monitor the quality of all activities throughout the project lifecycle and produce the finest deliverable possible.
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