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Quality management – part 2 - Plan - Areas to define

What is it?

This is the process of making sure that the Customer gets what they are expecting.
This implies the management of the Project Quality Plan.
Quality management consists of particular elements.

Quality system

This is the skeleton of the process that contains an organizational structure, procedures and processes to implement the quality management.
Any project management system forms part of the quality process.

Quality planning

This sets out the objectives and requirements for quality and describes the activities for the application of the system.

The Project Quality Plan document gives an initial idea of how the project will meet the customer’s expectations and forms part of the Project Initiation Document (PID), under PRINCE2® 2005 and the Project Initiation Documentation under PRINCE2 2009.

Under PRINCE2 2005 the quality methods for the whole project will be identified in the Project Quality Plan as part of the Project Initiation Document.
This document answers the ‘what, why, who, how, where, when and how much’ for the project and provides a focus for agreement with the stakeholders. It also provides guidance and information for those involved in the project.
[see Initiating a Project (IP) - part 7 - Assembling a Project Initiation Document (IP6)]

Under PRINCE2 2009 the Project Initiation Document is called the Project Initiation Documentation.
The same information, that is, relating to the ‘what, why, who, how, where, when, and how much’ of the project is:

  • Gathered for agreement by the key stakeholders
  • Available for guidance and information for those involved in the project

This information is collated into the Project Initiation Documentation.
[see Initiating a project – Activities - Assemble the Project Initiation Documentation]

Necessary quality activities and resources should be identified at each stage.
Quality criteria are required alongside the quality method used to check for its existence.

Quality assurance

This is the group that create and maintain the system.
It is responsible for making sure that the system is operated efficiently so that the product meets Customer and quality requirements.
The quality assurance function must be independent from the operational side of project management.

Under PRINCE2 2009 Quality assurance provides a check that the project's direction and management are adequate for the nature of the project and that it complies with relevant corporate or programme management standards and policies.

Quality assurance activities are outside the scope of PRINCE2 as it is the responsibility of the corporate or programme organization.
Quality assurance is about independently checking that the organization and processes are in place for quality planning and control

(i.e. not actually performing the quality planning or control, which will be undertaken by the project management team).
[see Quality - Quality defined]

Quality control

This process is there to make sure that products achieve the quality standard that has been set.
Products must be examined to assess if they meet the required criteria.

Under PRINCE2 2009 Quality control focuses on the operational techniques and activities used by those involved in the project to:

  • Fulfil the requirements for quality (for example, by quality inspections or testing)
  • Identify ways of eliminating causes of unsatisfactory performance (for example, by introducing process improvements as a result of lessons learned)

[see Quality - Quality defined]

Some aspects to consider would be:

Define working methods and procedures

The quality management should clarify the methods and procedures for control of quality for the deliverable product.
This will include setting up the quality group, how it manages itself and quality testing.
How often testing will occur and what to test.
Procedures that will be used and the management of the resultant documentation.
What happens to materials that do not pass quality control?
Are they reworked? This may be possible in the pharmaceutical industry.
Is the item scrapped or is it quarantined in some fashion?

This would include the processes for supervision and review at various levels in the plan.
These processes may be documented as SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures).

Define standards for deliverables

The end product will need to be released by quality control and this will require suitable procedures in place for testing performance and physical specifications together with any tolerances and release procedures for raw materials, for example, the use of approved suppliers.

Validation procedures for the final product test methods will be required.
It is common for final product testing procedures to require validation.
That is, the testing process must be able to cope with the requirements of the product.

Procedures must meet any good regulatory practices that may exist.

Define standards for supervision of testing and review

Who will be carrying out the testing?
How will test sampling be managed and by whom?
How will you review the quality of the testing process and the results?

Define testing checkpoints

Projects usually have milestones where progress is reviewed.
Whilst some quality testing may be a natural consequence of a milestone testing must be carried out regularly throughout a project stage to ensure good control.

How are testing points agreed?
Who will attend?
What groups should be consulted, for example, the project management team, additional personnel within the company, senior management involvement or external consultants etc.

Define user involvement

How do others relate to the quality management procedure.
This should be clear for all aspects of quality management.

Project audits

Auditing is part of the overall Project Quality Plan and it may be useful to have a representative in the project team.

Items like the project schedule will be a product of the project.
This will need to be managed as well.
What is the format of the project schedule?
How often it is updated?
How are revisions and accessibility managed?
Also, make people aware of where information will be archived.

These latter aspects will be the province of the Configuration Librarian under PRINCE2 [see ‘The Complete Project Management plus PRINCE2’].

PRINCE2® is a Registered Trade Mark of the Office of Government Commerce in the United Kingdom and other countries.