Project Management ABC: Q for Quality Management in Projects
How to get the right result for your projects
Imagine having a unique idea for a new project and being ready to implement it. You are full of energy and enthusiasm so you immediately start working towards making your project a success. But as soon as the project is completed, you notice that the outcome does not meet your customer’s expectations. Sounds like a nightmare? Then you should take early measures to ensure the quality of the outcome. The secret to this lies in good quality management to plan, control, and monitor the quality of your project. It allows you to identify and correct potential errors as well as deviations early on before they lead to bigger problems. Additionally, it helps to identify and implement continuous improvements to enhance efficiency, quality, as well as customer satisfaction. We summarize the most important information on quality management in projects.
What is quality?
Quality is a term that refers to the characteristics, features, and properties of a product, service, or process that determine its value and utility. It can be influenced by various factors such as performance, reliability, durability, safety, efficiency, user-friendliness, or customer satisfaction.
Quality can also be defined as the degree of conformity between specified requirements and the actual characteristics or performance of a product or service. High quality in this case means that the product or service meets or exceeds the customer’s requirements and expectations.
Therefore, quality is a crucial factor for the success of products, services, and companies as it influences customer satisfaction, competitiveness, and the company’s reputation. Effective quality management (QM) contributes to improving quality, minimizing errors and defects, as well as increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of processes.
The tasks of quality management
Quality management encompasses a variety of tasks that ensure the quality of products, services, or processes meets the requirements. These include:
- Quality planning: Quality objectives and requirements should be defined as early as possible, and a plan to meet these requirements should be created. This means specifying the criteria by which the project outcome will be evaluated.
- Quality assurance and control: Even before the start of a project quality control defines which processes or activities will ensure the desired quality. During project implementation, quality assurance monitors processes and products to ensure they meet the requirements.
- Quality inspection: At project completion, quality control verifies whether the quality goals and requirements defined in the quality plan have been met, as well as whether the project outcome meets previously established quality standards.
- Quality improvement: The goal of quality optimization is to continuously improve products, services, or processes. Therefore, improvement opportunities must be identified and implemented, for example to reduce future errors or optimize processes.
- Supplier management: Supplier management may also be part of quality management. Qualitätsmanagement gehören. It involves evaluating suppliers to ensure their products or services meet project requirements.
- Risk management: Identifying and assessing risks, as well as taking measures against these risks, is also an important part of quality management.
- Employee training: To ensure that all employees have the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their tasks at a high level of quality, employee training can also be a part of quality management.
Quality management in projects
In our experience, quality management is often seen as a necessary evil that hinders rather than supports projects. However, it ensures that the project meets all requirements and expectations and is therefore an extremely important part of project management. It can refer to two different areas:
1. Quality of the project outcome
The quality of the project outcome refers to whether the product or service meets the customer’s requirements and fulfills their expectations. Quality requirements and measures for implementation are defined at the beginning of the project, and acceptance must be criteria are agreed upon at the same time.
2. Quality of project management
The quality of project management is about whether, for example, time or cost constraints were met, and whether the defined processes were adhered to.
Since both areas are of great importance, appropriate evaluation criteria for each area should be defined and then monitored and reviewed. The most important of these criteria are often already included in the project order and later serve as acceptance criteria for the project.
The quality assurance plan
Often, all criteria and measures are summarized in a quality assurance plan, which can serve as a guideline for all activities of project implementation. It is usually created at the beginning of the project, updated during implementation if criteria have changed, and includes the following elements:
- Objectives and Purpose: The quality assurance plan describes the objectives and purpose of quality management and how it can contribute to achieving project goals.
- Responsibilities: In addition, it specifies who is responsible for implementing quality management as well as what roles and responsibilities the involved individuals have.
- Methods and Tools: The methods and tools used during the project to monitor, evaluate, and ensure quality are also indicated in the quality assurance plan. These may include checklists, tests, or audits, for example.
- Monitoring and controlling measures: The plan also specifies how quality will be monitored and controlled during the project.
- Documentation: Appropriate documentation of all quality management activities, including the necessary forms, reports, and records of the results of quality controls, is also an important part of quality management, which is regulated in the quality assurance plan.
Quality management in classic and agile projects
In classic project management, the quality management process is often divided into the steps of quality planning, quality control, as well as quality assurance, and occasionally quality improvement. The adherence to quality is examined at predefined points in time using established control procedures such as reviews, tests, or audits. In agile project management, such as Scrum, the term quality management is not explicitly used, but all important elements to guarantee and improve the quality of the product and project management are already integrated into the framework. These include, for example, the Daily Scrum, where obstacles and difficulties are discussed daily, testing of the developed product after each sprint, or sprint retrospectives that serve continuous improvement.
Norms in quality management
Numerous quality management norms can be used as a framework or mandatory requirement for quality management, such as:
- DIN EN ISO
DIN EN ISO 9001 is an internationally recognized norm for quality management systems. It sets requirements for organizations to ensure that they can provide products and services that meet the requirements and expectations of their customers. When it comes to projects, DIN EN ISO 9001 requires that a company’s quality management system be able to plan, control, and monitor the quality of project results. In detail, this means that a company that wants to achieve ISO 9001 certification must implement a quality management system that:
- Sets quality objectives for projects and ensures that these objectives align with customer requirements and expectations.
- Provides the necessary resources for project quality management and ensures that these resources are sufficient to plan, control and monitor the quality of project deliverables.
- Conducts quality planning and quality control for projects to ensure that the quality requirements for project results are met.
- Implements continuous improvement of the project quality management system and ensures that the project quality management system is always up to date.
- PMI PMBOK Guide
The PMI PMBOK Guide is a comprehensive handbook for project management developed by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It provides an overview of best practices and techniques in project management and provides a structure for planning, executing, and controlling projects. Quality management in projects is named one of the ten knowledge areas of project management and is part of the project management process that includes planning, controlling, and monitoring project performance. In detail, the PMBOK Guide covers the following topics of quality management in projects:
- Quality planning: This process identifies and specifies the requirements for the quality of the project deliverables and establishes appropriate measures.
- Quality management: The process by which the quality of the project deliverables is planned, controlled, and monitored.
- Quality control: This process verifies project results to ensure they meet customer requirements. Measures are also taken to ensure that errors and deviations are corrected.
- Quality improvement: This area focuses on continuously improving the quality of project results. Data and feedback from previous projects are used to identify and implement improvement opportunities.
- In addition to these topics of quality management in project management, the PMBOK Guide also indicates how quality management can be integrated into the other knowledge areas of project management, such as risk management and resource management.
Good quality management is a crucial component for the success of a project and the satisfaction of customers. It encompasses the implementation of standards, methods, and processes for monitoring and improving the quality of products, processes, or services. A well-thought-out quality assurance plan can help minimize risks, reduce costs, and increase customer satisfaction.
To effectively support quality management, the project management software myPARM offers various features and tools. With the Gantt chart, you can visualize the entire quality management process and map out the dependencies of each activity. The Kanban board allows you to organize the tasks of quality management and track their status. Finally, document management can help store all relevant documents and records in one place and keep track of them. The use of myPARM can thus help optimize quality management in projects as well as ensure successful implementation.
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