There are some tools and techniques defined by the PMI that can help you manage quality in project management more effectively. In this article, we'll explore Project Quality Management as per the 4th PMBOK. The article ends with a discussion on quality control vs quality assurance.
Introduction to Quality in Project Management
Project Quality Management is an essential part of the triple constraints. The diagram below shows where quality lies within these constraints. As you can see, quality is a factor of all the triple constraints: scope, time, and cost.
For the PMP certification, you should know that quality is “the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfill requirements". Therefore, as long as your project conforms to set requirements, project quality is met.
PMP Tip: The PMP exam requires planning and hardwork. Read how I passed the exam in my first attempt.
The Project Quality Management knowledge area consists of the following processes:
- Plan Quality
- Perform Quality Assurance
- Perform Quality Control
By implementing these PQM processes, you can ensure quality in project management. The article ends with a discussion on quality control vs quality assurance.
Plan Quality in Project Quality Management
In the Plan Quality process, the primary focus is to determine project or product quality requirements and then document how to achieve them in project management. Inputs such as the scope baseline, cost performance baseline, schedule baseline, and the risk register are used.
The key tools and techniques used in the Plan Quality process are: Cost-Benefit analysis, cost of quality, control charts, benchmarking, design of experiments, statistical sampling, and flow-charting.
The primary outputs of the Plan Quality process are the Quality Management Plan, Checklists and Metrics. These outputs are then used in other PM processes to ensure quality in project management.
Note: The Plan Quality process is implemented during the Planning process group.
Perform Quality Assurance
In the Perform Quality Assurance process, the primary focus is to see how well the project adheres to the expected quality through audits and quality control tools. This process looks mainly into the underlying processes, which if improved can increase quality in project management. Inputs, such as the project management plan, quality metrics, and quality control measurements are used.
The key tools and techniques used in the Perfrom Quality Assurance process are similar to that of the Plan Quality process. In addition, audits are performed.
The primary output of this process is change requests. These outputs are then used in other Project Quality Management processes to ensure quality in project management.
Note: The Perform Quality Assurance process is implemented during the Executing process group.
Perform Quality Control
In the Perform Quality Control process the primary focus is to assess the project performance in terms of quality. This is done by monitoring and recording results. Inputs, such as project management plan, quality metrics, quality checklists, and approved change requests are used.
The key tools and techniques used in the Perform Quality Control process to improve quality in project management are listed in the Quality Control Tools and Techniques in Project Quality Management article.
The primary outputs of the Perform Quality Control process are Quality Control Measurements, Validated Changes, and Validated Deliverables. These outputs are then used improve the quality in project management.
Note: The Perform Quality Control process group is implemented in the Monitoring and Controlling process group.
Next, let's look at quality control vs quality assurance.
Quality Control vs Quality Assurance
Many people find it difficult to distinguish between quality assurance and quality control. The key difference are that quality assurance is more concerned with process improvements and is in the Executing process group. Quality Control, on the other hand, falls in the Monitoring and Controlling process group and is more concerned about end-product quality. Hence, tools and techniques, such as sampling and inspection, are a part of quality control and not a part of quality assurance. However, both are a part of Project Quality Management and are required to improve quality.