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.
Purpose 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 system - includes the structures, procedures and processes to implement quality management
- quality assurance - creates and maintains the quality system and 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 are at the heart of a quality management process. It is a structured procedure designed to asses 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
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 - delivers the products or services to meet customer expectations
- project assurance - carries out an independent inspection of the products or services being produced
- project board - ultimately responsible for project assurance but often project assurance activities are delegated