With so many moving parts to running a successful business, an area that can easily be overlooked is quality. In today’s world especially, where people and projects are moving faster than ever in an attempt to save time, many companies might skimp on quality without even realizing it.
Project quality management might aim to control a project’s associated costs, enforce standards, and/or outline the proper steps for successful project completion. If carried out effectively, project quality management can even minimize the risk of project failure or dissatisfaction among clients or buyers.
Read on as we take a closer look at project quality management, so you can learn how to reap its benefits for your business.
What Is Project Quality Management?
Project quality management is defined by Adobe as “the process of continually measuring the quality of all activities and taking corrective action until the desired quality is achieved.” Commonly used in the world of business, the term project quality management refers to a specific plan or process that helps achieve the desired end goal of a project or action. In simpler terms: whatever a project is meant to accomplish, project quality management helps ensure that all steps are taken properly to meet that goal or goal(s). It also typically describes the processes of quality planning, quality assurance, and quality control.
While project quality management could encompass a wide variety of examples, a few specific instances might include:
- Inspection of recently manufactured products
- Careful review of recent contracts
- Observation of work practices to ensure safety and efficiency
Read More: How to Write SMART Project Management Goals
Elements of Project Quality Management
As touched upon above, there are three primary areas of project quality management: quality planning, quality assurance, and quality control. Each of these fills a slightly different role in the quality management process.
The quality planning area of project quality management clearly defines how a process or plan of action will be performed. It might involve drawing up a charter for a company project, forming a clear objective or end goal of the project, or painting a clear picture of what the finished product might look like if the project is carried out successfully.
Quality planning will usually entail assessing possible risk, setting appropriate standards, and documenting all necessary project materials, to name a few.
Of the three branches of project quality management, quality assurance is probably the biggest, particularly in the corporate world. Companies have had designated quality assurance managers for decades to ensure that all systems, processes, and production are safe, efficient, and effective.
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Quality assurance teams (or a QA manager) are responsible for ensuring and proving that all processes are being performed as optimally as possible, usually to meet company expectations and be compliant with local regulations. Audits and checklists are two tangible examples of how quality assurance might measure safety and effectiveness.
Quality control often involves taking steps to identify problems and perform the necessary corrective action(s). Where quality assurance seeks to be proactive and prevent problems from occurring, quality control is reactive, and is implemented after a problem has already occurred.
Ultimately, quality control boils down to maintaining business standards. A few areas that this segment of project quality management might target include: improving unsafe production processes, correcting faulty manufacturing (e.g. lopsided caps or uneven bottles in manufacturing), and repairing malfunctioning or ineffective equipment.
Project Quality Management Tools
There is no set format for implementing effective project quality management. A few forms it might take or encompass include:
- Cause-and-Effect Diagram: This will help spell out plainly what a business’s plan of action is to achieve the desired end goal or effect. The diagram itself looks like a tree with branches, each of which present possible causes for a specific problem.
- Control Charts: Control charts will help a company gauge whether a manufacturing or business process is in control via graphing and statistics.
- Flowcharting: Flowcharts are a great visual diagram, helping workers ask the right questions before acting to repair, replace, or correct machinery, processes, etc.
- Histogram: A histogram works like a bar chart, but works to analyze factors such as the likelihood of meeting customer requirements, supplier output, and production output.
- Pareto Chart: A pareto chart looks like a combination of a bar graph and a line graph, and is commonly used to measure the frequency of defects, costs, time, and other production factors.
- Run Chart: Project quality management might use run charts to catch data trends or patterns over time. These are especially helpful for before-and-after comparisons.
- Scatter Diagram: Scatter diagrams are helpful for examining the relationship between two separate variables. Where there are overlapping coordinates, there are correlations. An example might be a correlation between steam usage in a business’s production plant to the outside temperature.
Benefits of a Project Quality Management Plan
There are several benefits for abiding by or implementing a proper project quality management plan. We’ve outlined a few of them below.
It’s common that strong project quality management leads to an increase in worker productivity. With safe, organized, and efficient systems in place, people can focus more easily on their tasks and responsibilities, completing their work in a timely manner.
Project quality management directly impacts customer satisfaction by catching or correcting production mistakes. Customers care about receiving quality products that are made well, and standard quality management will ensure that that’s exactly what they get!
With a good project quality management program in place, employees can enjoy better teamwork and clearer communication as they get work done. Staff will have no doubts about what they should be doing — or what their co-workers should be doing — to ensure the success of a project.
Relating to customer satisfaction, high-quality products are usually the result of project quality management, which ensures that all standards are met during the production process. This helps to further solidify the reputation of any business, small or large.