A project that can satisfy the client’s expectations, and abides by organizational standards, is fit to be called a quality project. This is how we generally define project quality planning practice but there is more to it when it comes to managing it. After all, wouldn’t you want it to flow according to the quality plan?
A project requires an effective quality planning method that can help you deliver the best to your client. A project quality plan provides the foundation for all the activities to be performed in the stages that follow the planning phase. Moreover, quality planning helps you align the three important project variables i.e. cost, schedule, and scope in a single equation.
What is a Project Quality Plan?
A project quality plan is a detailed proposal or guide specifying the project standards that clients desire. It also describes the use of technology, machinery, project/resource management tools, and processes necessary to deliver a quality project.
Similarly, the project quality management signifies the process of implementing the plan made prior to the execution phase. Quality management of a project would require you to maintain the standards of the workflow by measuring the authenticity of the on-going processes.
Project quality management is a rigorous task of maintaining project standards which result in having quality deliverables. Professional services organizations have implemented various techniques that can help them measure the project quality and few are still in use after a series of improvisation.
The models used for measuring project quality tend to vary depending on the nature of the project. Hence, before going to the actual quality planning tools used in various businesses you can have a look at the quality measurement methods.
- Measure Project Activities
You can bring every little activity during the project lifecycle on a standard measurable scale. It will help you identify project health more easily by giving you data at a granular level. Besides, measuring the project activities also include measuring the products and services.
To establish the quality standards, you can follow the International Organization of Standards (ISO) or the standard practices used in your organization. Along with that, you can set suitable allowance towards variation because little inaccuracies don’t impact the quality but would still add substantially to your overhead.
- Managing Client Expectations
Clients can approve of the project during delivery looking at the aesthetics but will get back to you dissatisfied with the performance later. You need to handle such situations where the clients are aware of the functioning of the project and not just aesthetics.
Client expectations can be managed by involving them before and during the project planning. It begins with an interview session to elucidate requirements with precision. This also helps you understand what it is that they’re expecting to get at the completion stage, and negotiations concerning tasks and billability can follow. You can even get them to verify the project plan and mention the standards you are going to follow to avoid discrepancies. Lastly, you can hook them up with real-time project updates using a collaborative project management tool so that they are notified of the project process quality.
- Compile Planning Information
Quality management during the planning phase requires you to consider various factors to establish the quality of the project. Those factors include cost, schedule, scope, and risk. Additionally, you would require a resource management tool to determine resource allocations prior to finalizing workloads. After all, choosing and assigning the most competent team members to the challenging tasks improves the quality of work.
Hence, gather every piece of information you can in order to identify the parameters that can affect or help the project. It empowers you to perform project quality planning reliably and take data driven decisions when it comes to managing the quality of any stage of the project.
- Create Checklists and Pareto Charts
Measuring and maintaining the quality of the project requires you to keep a note of the workflow process. A checklist or the check sheet and Pareto chart are two of the most in not only project management business but also other businesses.
Check sheet which is popularly known as the checklist contains a list of the tasks on a timeline that you can check/rule out according to its completion. Moreover, you can prepare a quality checklist that tracks if process standards are maintained. Similarly, a Pareto chart is used to emphasize the priority tasks to improve operational efficiency. A Pareto chart can essentially act quality measurement tool since it helps in prioritizing tasks, risks, effective communication, etc.
Project Quality Planning Tools and Techniques
Project quality planning is performed by looking into several aspects of the project using the quality planning tools and tips listed below:
- Cost-benefit analysis
You need to check if benefits are worthy when you invest in quality and accuracy. There, you can use the cost-benefit analysis to compare the cost you pay for the quality is affordable or the benefits you get from the quality are necessary.
- Project Benchmarking
Benchmarking is a popular method used in project management and quality control as well. It means you consider an ideal quality specimen from a successful project similar to yours as a reference to set your project quality.
- Examination of the Design
Examining the quality of the project requires you to conduct a couple of tests. Depending on the nature of the project the tests can include reviewing the project execution, validating calculations, reliability, destructive/non-destructive testing, etc.
- Cost of quality
Consider the fact i.e. quality comes at a price! Hence, you need to manage the cost spent on maintaining the project standards throughout the lifecycle. The cost of quality includes risk prevention, documentation, reworking on the tasks, etc.
- Data Control Charts
Control charts are used to establish acceptable limits or thresholds of all the processes. These charts are the statistical data plotted graphically or in tabular format for ease of understanding. They are often used to control iterative processes that are susceptible to deviate from the desired accuracy.
- What-if Analysis
Keep the workflow untouched by the issues using what-if analysis feature you find on project quality software. It helps you forecast the risk and prevent it from becoming an issue.
- Project Quality Assurance
Quality assurance overseas if the project has followed the desired quality or standards during execution. The quality assurance is the final link to the project quality planning chain which validates the quality of the deliverables are up to the mark.
For professional services organizations, the work of quality and accuracy is the piece of art. Similarly, projects with measured steps, quality planning requires a balanced approach. You can invest in quality to the point where its results more benefits.
While planning for project quality, you can ensure the project is genuinely a quality built and worth the price your client’s pay. In order to measure the quality and worthiness, this blog can always guide you for the same.
Mahendra Gupta is PMP certified in the smart workforce planning and resource management domain. He is the subject matter expert in resource management and workforce planning at Saviom Software. His experience has enabled multinational businesses around the globe to diversify their project portfolio. Follow his work here.