PMBOK Guide, Chapter 8: Quality Overview

by Joseph_Phillips on December 6, 2012

There are just three processes to learn in this reading: Quality planning, performing quality assurance, and quality control. In this reading you will note that many of the tools and techniques are similar between the processes. Quality planning, the first quality management process, focuses on defining quality for the project and how quality may be achieved by doing the work correctly the first time. Quality planning also defines an important concept: grade versus quality.

Grade and quality are not the same and are often confused. Grade is the ranking given to materials and services, such as first class versus coach or different grades of metal, wood, and even pipes. Quality is the conformance to requirements and fitness for use, which means the project delivers exactly what was called for in the project scope. Low grade may not be a problem, low quality always is. Sometimes a project may call for a low grade material because it satisfies exactly what is needed in the project. To purchase a higher grade material does not contribute to an improvement in quality because it is not what the project called for. Quality is obtained by delivering exactly what the project called for.

Quality assurance is a management-driven process to prevent mistakes from entering into the project. Quality assurance is an audit of the project to ensure that the needed quality activities are occurring and that the results of quality control are being acted upon. Quality assurance aims to prevent mistakes from entering the project by doing the work correctly the first time and then responding to errors when they are discovered in quality control. Quality control and quality assurance work together, though quality assurance is usually organization-wide and is defined in a quality policy.

Quality control is the inspection-driven process to ensure that quality does exist in the project deliverables. The goal of quality control is to keep mistakes out of the customers’ hands. Quality control demands inspection and cannot be skipped or delayed in the project or quality problems and issues will likely magnify as the project moves toward scope verification.

Quality control uses several quality control charts that you should learn in the chapter. The Pareto chart, control chart, run chart, Ishikawa diagram, and the scatter diagram are the most common and useful quality control charts a project manager and project team will use in project management. These charts help identify problems in project execution and allow the team to plan how quality problems may be rectified through corrective action and how future problems can be prevented through additional planning.

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