Programme and project quality management

Quality management focuses on leadership, management, assessment, and measurement activities, as well as an overarching view of the outputs of all the projects in a programme.

What is quality management?

At project level quality management is mainly about the project’s products or services, and what makes them fit for the purpose of meeting clearly stated needs. Projects cannot be effectively built around implied needs.

Quality management is the process of ensuring that the customer’s expectation of quality (for products or services being delivered) is met. Configuration management is closely linked to quality management.

Features of quality management

Quality management includes all the project management activities needed to implement a quality plan. The basic elements of an organisation’s approach to quality management are:

  • quality management system - includes the structures, procedures and processes to implement quality management. There may be more than one organisation involved in a project (i.e. separate customer and supplier businesses) and each will have its own quality management system. A single quality management system implemented by the project’s commissioning organisation is most suitable for the purposes of the project.
  • Independent quality assurance - independently checks that quality planning and controls are in place and provides confidence that quality requirements can be fulfilled. Independent quality assurance does not carry out quality checks (that is done by project management), but monitors its implementation, ensuring that the system is effective in meeting the customer’s quality expectations
  • quality planning - puts quality objectives and requirements in place and outlines how the quality system should operate - an important part of this process is to understand and document the customer’s expectations of product quality; the way quality is handled should be described at project level in the project initiation document.
  • quality control - is the means of ensuring that the specified quality criteria are met
  • quality reviews - are the means by which project quality is maintained

Quality reviews

Quality reviews are at the heart of a quality management process. It is a structured procedure designed to assess whether a product or service is fit for purpose or conforms to agreed requirements. The objectives of a quality review are to:

  • assess the conformity of a product against set criteria
  • provide a platform for product improvement
  • involve all those who have an interest in checking its quality
  • share ownership of the product
  • obtain commitment from all vested interests to the product
  • provide a mechanism for management, monitoring and control

Quality management roles and responsibilites

Quality management is the collective responsibility of everyone on a project, from executives, to senior users, senior suppliers, project managers and project assurance. The main roles and responsibilities in quality management are:

  • customer - provides the quality expectations for the products or services being delivered by the project
  • project manager – prepares quality management approach and ensures quality control measures are implemented by team managers. Delivers the products or services to meet customer expectations
  • project assurance - advises project manager on quality management system design and implementation and assists the project board and manager in reviewing product descriptions.
  • project board - ultimately responsible for project assurance but often project assurance activities are delegated. Approves project product description and quality management approach.

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