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Most Project Managers are aware that delivering projects within "time, cost and quality" is critical to success. However the term quality can be elusive and is often not clearly defined. In this issue, we describe what it really means to deliver quality within a project and we will help you to understand the 4 critical steps to creating a Quality Plan. So what does the term "quality" mean? Method123 defines quality as producing deliverables which meet the requirements of the customer.
To ensure that your deliverables meet your customers requirements, you need to create a Quality Plan, by taking these 4 steps:
Step 1: Define the Quality Targets
We all know that its pretty impossible to meet your customers expectations unless you draw a line in the sand before you start. By asking your customer to state upfront exactly what it is that they require, you will greatly improve your chances of success.
Ask your customer to provide a list of their requirements for a solution to be delivered by the project. Then help them to list the key deliverables which once produced, will satisfy their requirements. For each deliverable, list its components and then go one step further - by describing the detailed quality targets (i.e. quality criteria and quality standards) to be achieved by each component. This will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of exactly what it is that must be produced by the project, to meet the expectations of your customer.
Step 2: Create a Quality Assurance Plan
The next step is to create a plan to assure your customer that you can meet the quality targets set. By scheduling a suite of Quality Assurance Reviews to be undertaken by an independent person to the project, your customer will be provided with a "trusted view" of the overall progress of the project and the likelihood of the deliverables actually meeting the quality targets agreed.
Step 3: Create a Quality Control Plan
Internally within the project, you need to create a schedule of "Quality Control" measures to control the actual level of quality of each deliverable, as it is being produced. Examples include putting in place peer reviews, deliverable reviews, documentation reviews and end-of-phase reviews. Each review will measure the deliverables produced and identify any deviations from the quality targets set.
Step 4: Define the Quality Process
Of course, creating plans for assuring and controlling the quality of deliverables is a good start. But you also need to put in place a Quality Process to ensure that each of the actions listed in the Quality Plan are undertaken as quickly and efficiently as possible.