What Is The Project Quality Management Process? (With Tools)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published June 19, 2022
The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.
Companies that implement the project quality management process can offer high-quality products and services to customers. The process involves establishing and implementing quality standards that all employees can adhere to. This helps businesses increase sales and build a loyal customer base. In this article, we explain what the project quality management process is, discuss the three stages of the process, and offer a list of tools it may require.
What is the project quality management process?
The project quality management process includes methods and strategies that help companies improve their workflow and raise the quality of their deliverables. The process helps companies control the cost of each project, establishes quality standards, and creates steps employees can follow to adhere to those standards. This can minimize product failures, the waste of resources, and unhappy clients. This process aims to achieve the three following concepts:
The main goal most companies hope to achieve with project quality management is customer satisfaction. Businesses want to create a process that allows them to manufacture high-quality products or services consistently. This helps them attract new customers and build a loyal customer base, which can lead to positive reviews and an improved brand reputation.
Prevention over inspection
Although there's a cost associated with establishing and implementing a project quality management process, called the cost of quality (COQ), it's typically lower than the cost of failures. The cost of quality is a preventative cost that minimizes the chance of faulty products or services, which can be expensive to fix. These costs include ones related to training, documentation, equipment, and time spent adhering to the process.
Project quality management is an ongoing process that aims to improve a company's processes and deliverables. This may include small changes over time or large changes upon implementation. This requires companies to monitor their progress and note any issues to prevent them during future projects.
Three stages of quality project management
While every company has its own quality management process, the programs typically share common elements. Here are the three quality management processes most companies implement to improve their deliverables:
1. Quality planning
Companies start each project by defining its goals, requirements, parameters, potential risks, and compliance guidelines. This helps guide each project and ensures everyone on the team knows what their responsibilities are. In the planning stage, employees may perform market research, create metrics for tracking the project's process, or calculate a range of acceptable deliverables. Here are some example questions you can ask yourself and your team during this stage to ensure your plan has all the details it needs:
What is the final product or service supposed to accomplish?
When does the project need to be complete?
How can we measure customer satisfaction?
How do we know if the project was successful?
What legal requirements do we need to meet?
Who's the best person for each task?
What metrics can we use to assess our progress?
How many products do we need to manufacture to reach our goal?
2. Quality assurance
Quality assurance is the process companies use to ensure all employees are adhering to the plan from the previous stage to produce high-quality deliverables. Teams may use a process checklist or project audit during this stage to assess their progress and ensure their deliverables meet the company's quality standards. They may use both quantitative and qualitative metrics to assess their progress, such as the total number of products that pass their quality checks compared to the total number of products that didn't.
Conducting quality assurance tests throughout the manufacturing process helps teams identify whether they're on schedule. If they're on schedule, this knowledge can help motivate employees to keep working hard and if they're not on schedule, it allows them to optimize their processes to improve workflow.
3. Quality control
Quality control encourages employees to assess the quality of their services, products, tasks, materials, and deliverables at every stage of the project. It ensures that the final product is of the highest possible quality. The quality control stage typically involves identifying, analyzing, and correcting problems, which is why it comes after the quality assurance stage. Quality assurance typically identifies a problem, while quality control suggests ways to improve it. Successful quality control can help ensure projects are on a budget and schedule so companies can provide accurate estimates to their customers.
Here are the main types of quality control tools you can use to inspect your deliverables:
Scatter diagram: After conducting tests, you can use a scatter diagram to plot your information along two graph axes. This allows you to identify relationships between variables.
Histogram: Another common graph is a histogram. It uses bars to identify frequency distributions, which can tell you how often defects occur in your manufacturing process.
Pareto chart: A Pareto chart is a bar chart that can help you plot the problems and causes you identify. This allows you to focus on the tallest bars that represent the most significant issues.
Stratification: Stratification is the process of classifying data into different groups. This can help you identify specific areas of your manufacturing process that are creating issues.
Control chart: This is a graph that allows you to study how a process changes over time. Control charts can help you find problems quicker and analyze variations.
Fishbone diagram: Also known as an Ishikawa diagram, fishbone diagrams show cause and effect. They help teams identify specific issues and determine why they happened to avoid them in the future.
Checklists: This is the most simple quality control tool as it only requires you to write a list of tasks you must finish to complete your deliverable. Once you complete each task, you check it off your list.
Quality management tools
Companies with an established quality management process typically use tools or software to work efficiently. Here are some common tools you can consider using in your own process:
An affinity diagram is a visualization tool that displays the connection between different ideas. This can help you generate and organize any information you collect about a process, product, or problem. Companies typically use affinity diagrams during the brainstorming stage of their quality management process as it organizes subjective data, such as ideas or opinions.
Matrix diagrams analyze and display the relationship between data sets. Project managers typically analyze data, functions, people, concepts, materials, actions, or equipment using a matrix diagram. You can create different shaped matrix diagrams based on the number of data groups you want to analyze. For example, an L-shaped matrix analyzes the relationship between two groups, while a T-shaped matrix analyzes the relationship between three groups.
Interrelationship diagrams analyze the causal relationships between certain variables and their outcomes. They help project managers identify issues and the variables that caused them to prevent them from occurring again. Some teams use interrelationship diagrams preventively to assess how certain variables may affect a project.
A prioritization matrix identifies critical tasks or projects you and your team must complete. It helps you assess how urgent or complex certain tasks are so you can prioritize them accordingly. Teams typically use this matrix during the planning or brainstorming stage to assign tasks and create a timeline.
Network diagrams display the project's schedule and upcoming deadlines. All team members have access to this diagram to determine what tasks to work on next. The diagram also helps team members assess their progress to ensure they're working within their assigned deadlines.
Process decision program charts
A process decision program chart helps teams find potential errors with their project plans. This allows team members to either find a solution that stops the problem from occurring or develop a contingency plan if the issue arises. Project managers typically use this type of chart in the brainstorming stage before implementing their project plans.
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