The Purpose of a Project Quality Plan

Quality can be defined as meeting the customer's expectations or exceeding the customer expectations achieved by way of deliverables and/or activities performed to produce those deliverables.

Project Quality Plan can be defined as a set of activities planned at the beginning of the project that helps achieve Quality in the Project being executed. The Purpose of the Project Quality Plan is to define these activities / tasks that intends to deliver products while focussing on achieveing customer's quality expectations. These activities / tasks are defined on the basis of the quality standards set by the organization delivering the product.

Project Quality Plan identifies which Quality Standards are relevant to the project and determines how can they be satisfied. It includes the implementation of Quality Events (peer reviews, checklist execution) by using various Quality Materials (templates, standards, checklists) available within the organization.The holding of the Quality Event is termed as Quality Control. As an output of the various activities, Quality Metrics or Measurements are captured which assist in continuous improvement of Quality thus adding to the inventory of Lessons Learned. Quality Assurance deals in preparation of the Quality Plan and formation of organization wide standards.

Guidelines to write the Project Quality Plan

Project Quality Plan should be written with the objective to provide project management with easy access to quality requirements and should have ready availability of the procedures and standards thus mentioned.

The following list provides you the various Quality Elements that should be included in a detailed Project Quality Plan:

  • Management Responsibility. Describes the quality responsibilities of all stakeholders.
  • Documented Quality Management System. This refers to the existing Quality Procedures that have been standardized and used within the organization.
  • Design Control. This specifies the procedures for Design Review, Sign-Off, Design Changes and Design Waivers of requirements.
  • Document Control. This defines the process to control Project Documents at each Project Phase.
  • Purchasing. This defines Quality Control and Quality Requirements for sub-contracting any part / whole part of the project.
  • Inspection Testing. This details the plans for Acceptance Testing and Integration Testing.
  • Nonconformance. This defines the procedures to handle any type of nonconformance work. The procedures include defining responsibilities, defining conditions and availability of required documentation in such cases.
  • Corrective Actions. This describes the procedures for taking Corrective Actions for the problems encountered during project execution.
  • Quality Records. This describes the procedures for maintaining the Quality Records (metrices, variance reports, executed checklists etc) during project execution as well as after the project completion.
  • Quality Audits. An internal audit should be planned and implemented during each phase of the project.
  • Training. This should specify any training requirements for the project team.

Evaluating your Project Quality Plan

For quality assurance to be effective, two things must be ensured:

  • First, the Project Quality plan must be sufficient to achieve the required quality standards expected of the organization. In this regard the plan must not only be specific and detailed listing all quality requirements and standards, but also include all the steps taken to ensure that those requirements and standards are met.
  • Secondly, quality assurance (i.e. final product testing) should be independent of the project itself (as well as the project manager). This comes down from the project management guidelines for effective quality assurance, and builds on a broad-based, organizational approach to standards-based product testing.

The development of a Project Quality Plan is a team process that depends as much on communicating information as it does on planning. The key objective is to create a cohesive dialog and subsequently develop awareness of potential quality issues assurance. Based on this awareness, project managers can prepare plans and actions to counter any weaknesses or deficiencies in the project execution, thus ensuring that all quality standards are met effectively.

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