How to Determine the Required Quality on Your Project

How to Determine the Required Quality on Your Project
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You may have a concept for the product of your project, but you need to understand and articulate the level of quality required of that product to make the project a success.  The trick is to find the intersection of a quality level that will be acceptable while delivering the project on time and within a certain budget. You will, therefore, need to consider the time and resources parameter carefully – and perform tradeoffs with your team and the stakeholders until you strike a happy balance to determine the required quality level.

This is the second part of a series of four articles on quality management.  This part, Part 2, “How to Determine the Required Quality on Your Project”, begins to identify the practicality of balancing quality with cost and resources.  Part 1, “Quality Management Step 1:  Defining Quality on Your Project”, examines what quality might look like on your particular project.  Part 3, “How to Measure Quality on Your Project”, acknowledges that you need to measure in order to manage…but grapples with the challenge of determining what must be measured.  Part 4, “Quality Measurement on Your Project:  Measuring Quality in Quantity”, looks at how to handle the need to measure over and over again – to a point where you can say, “good enough”.

This aspect of quality management involves using what has been called the ‘triple constraint’ to balance resources, time, and quality.  Here’s a brief description of how that works:

Resources

Any project has limited resources – which include money, materials, and people.  But the number of resources is not necessarily fixed. In the beginning, you may have a budget and limited team.  But, to show the interaction of the three elements of the triple constraint, it also may be that you can increase those resources to decrease the time or increase the quality.

Time

Initially there may seem to be a fixed timeframe, or there may be a rough timeframe of getting something done in the next few months or the next year or so.  But again, the time is not necessarily fixed, and you may be able to present tradeoffs to the stakeholders. For example, you might say that if the time can be extended, you can achieve greater quality with the same amount of resources.

Quality

This is the big one – the subject of this article.  The idea is that the required quality needs to be defined.  And it’s actually easier to define it with stakeholders by using the tradeoffs of resources and time.  Stakeholders naturally want everything they can get – and may find it difficult to reduce their demands and desires without getting something for it!  As a PM, you are empowered to negotiate using the triple constraint to give more quality if they give you more time and resources.

In a world of constraints, Quality Management demands defining the required quality of the product of the project given resource and time constraints.

How can you use the triple constraint of resources, time, and quality to help determine the true level of quality needed on your project?

This Post is Part of the Series: Quality Management

This series of four articles teaches how there is a commonality among things that represent quality and how to manage them. 

  1. Quality Management Step 1: Defining Quality on Your Project
  2. How to Determine the Required Quality on Your Project
  3. How to Measure Quality on Your Project
  4. Quality Measurement on Your Project: Measuring Quality in Quantity