What is planning quality?
PMI has defined the quality planning “as a process to identify the quality requirements or standards for the deliverable of the project and documenting how the project will demonstrate compliance”. Project quality measures the ability of the product/service to fulfil its intended purpose. If a great product with high quality is delivered but it is not fit for its purpose, then the project has failed to meet its quality goals. In contrast, if the quality is well planned, it will lead the project to have less rework, higher productivity, lower cost and increased stakeholders’ satisfaction.
How to measure quality?
To have a better understanding of the concept of quality, the PM should pay attention to four elements of quality: Function, Output, Performance, and Reliability. Each of those characteristics looks to the concept of quality through a different lens:
- Function is the desired capability of a product or service. It is the intended purpose of the product or is something which enables a person to do a specific task.
- Output is the tangible result of the product or service. The output of the project will be measured and tested against standard criteria and any deviation from the planned criteria should be treated.
- Performance is expected nature of how function shows itself to users. It reveals how efficiently a device or a service achieves its objectives.
- Reliability indicates the ability of a service/ product to perform as it is expected under the normal condition without unacceptable failure. If, for example, the engine of a car fails to do its normal activity under a normal condition very regularly, the car is not a reliable.
Quality planning techniques
Quality plan needs to be developed with consideration of documents such as Scope Statement, WBS, Stakeholder Register and cost and schedule baseline. Methodologies such as Six Sigma and Parato Analyses focus on managing quality, however, some technique and tools for planning quality are briefly described below:
- Cost of Quality (COQ)
Cost of Quality analyze, is applied to investigate the imposed cost associated with noncompliance of the project to its standards and requirements. This involves all invested budget over the life of the project for non-conformance to requirement. This also includes the cost related to the investigation of the deliverable to ensure it meets the project requirements and the cost associated with potential rework in case the service fails to meet the requirement.
- Control Chart
Control Charts are applied to determine whether or not a process is within its acceptable range of performance. The upper and lower limits are determined based on the project requirements in the contract. They indicate the maximum and the minimum allowance of project performance. The PM with the help of some stakeholders is responsible for setting the lower and upper limits of the performance to indicate the point at which corrective action should be taken to maintain the quality performance in its range.
PRINCE2 recommend that once the PM captured the information from the senior users, the information should be documented in a high-level project requirement. This document clearly explains what the project will deliver and how the performance of deliverables will be measured and deemed acceptable to the customer. One of the outputs of the process is Quality Metrics. Quality Metrics describes project or a product’s attribute and how the quality control process will investigate it. The tolerance and the acceptable variation are set in exact value and the concept of quality is measured.