Project managers know all about the triple restraint: time, scope and cost. But truthfully, there should be a fourth restraint: quality. The quality of your work can make or break a project, which is why a quality management plan is so important.
If you deliver on time and under budget, but the quality doesn’t meet your stakeholders’ expectations, the project is not a success. Let’s explore the impact a quality management plan can have on a project, how to make one and look at some templates to get you started.
What Is a Quality Management Plan?
A quality management plan is a document that helps the project manager and the project team execute quality management and quality assurance actions. Quality, in the context of project management, is fulfilling the project requirements and meeting the customer’s needs.
An overall project plan will include a quality management plan, which describes the activities you will apply throughout the project’s life cycle to meet its quality objectives. You also describe these activities (and the resources you need to put them into action) in the quality management plan.
It’s foolish to expect quality without planning for it. Quality is intentional and requires skillful execution. A quality management plan is the first step to defining and codifying the steps necessary to achieve the quality expectations of the project. This is best done with project management software that can organize and share the plan with the project team.
ProjectManager is cloud-based work and project management software that has multiple project views that let you create and execute your quality management plan. Project managers can build the quality plan on Gantt charts, which link dependencies, add milestones and even filter for the critical path. Then, teams can execute the plan on kanban boards and task lists. Every work view is updated in real time for a single source of truth. Get started today for free.
Why Is a Quality Management Plan on a Project Important?
A quality management plan is an essential component to delivering a successful project for your stakeholders. But it’s not just one project that benefits from a quality management plan. Customers expect consistency, and by having a plan in place to maintain a quality production for whatever product or service you’re manufacturing, you can consistently meet their quality expectations.
Quality management is also not limited to the project team. When everyone in the organization understands the plan, efficiency increases. While it’s of paramount importance that everyone involved in the manufacturing process uses the quality management plan for guidance, having all departments familiar with the plan boosts efficiency and creates a shared goal understood by all.
When you create a quality product or service, customers are going to take notice. The market is competitive, and quality is something that makes your brand stand out. A quality management plan helps you deliver consistent quality. That, in turn, makes customers loyal to your product or service. Loyal customers lead to brand value; and that means profitability.
Of course, nobody’s perfect, which is another reason why a project needs a quality management plan. Having guidelines and principles for your business processes means that everyone knows what to do. This creates a roadmap that reduces human error. The fewer mistakes, the less time and money you have to spend on the project.
Who’s Involved in Planning, Executing and Maintaining a Quality Management Plan?
A quality management plan is created by the project manager, who can seek guidance from some team members, stakeholders and customers. There are some projects and organizations that might have specific roles for a quality assurance professional or quality expert, but most quality management plans are planned, executed and maintained by the project manager.
Regardless of who owns the quality management plan, everyone on the project team has some role to play in order to make sure that deliverables meet quality expectations:
- The Project Manager: The PM develops the quality management process in order to make sure all deliverables meet quality expectations.
- Team Members: The team is responsible for meeting the quality expectations of the plan as they execute their tasks by following the standards designed by the project manager.
- The Organization: The org standardizes quality controls across all projects and makes sure that its staff is trained with the skills needed to deliver quality products or services.
- Stakeholders: Stakeholders need to explain clearly what their quality expectations are and they are responsible for approving the delivery of that product or service.
- Customers: Customers and users should be consulted like stakeholders if the project is designed to create a product or service for customers.
How to Create a Quality Management Plan for a Project
When making a quality management plan, you first need to identify the key components. These include the project deliverables and project process. You also need to determine the quality standards you’ll measure your deliverables by, as well as the criteria you use to measure customer satisfaction.
You’ll also need to list the quality control activities, process quality standards, stakeholder expectations, quality assurance activities and create quality deliverables. Once that is done, the quality management plan follows these four steps:
1. Plan Development of Quality Management Plan
This is where you identify the quality objectives of your customers by researching and interviewing them. You’ll want to get them to express their needs clearly and objectively. Then, you’ll look at the professional standards around your product or service, such as legal, environmental, economic, code, life safety and health.
The quality management plan will have to find a balance between what the customers want and your cost, schedule and professional standards. From there, you can start to develop a plan and processes to achieve your quality goals within the constraints of your project.
Next, you’ll want to develop performance measure thresholds in order to make sure everyone is in agreement that the quality objectives have been met. Customers will have to agree with all the quality objectives and measurements of quality.
2. Execute the Quality Management Plan
Now that you have a plan, it’s time to set it into action. Execute tasks in accordance with the approved quality management plan and standards. Communication is essential during this phase, in order to respond quickly to changing dynamics in the project. Document everything and explore them in a lessons-learned meeting after the completion of the project.
3. Perform Quality Checks
In order to make sure you’re meeting quality objectives, it’s imperative to perform quality checks, such as technical reviews, management oversight and verification that quality standards are being met. Check them against your customer quality objectives. Project managers will report these findings to stakeholders in regular meetings. Continuous improvement is the goal of this process.
4. Take Corrective Action
If, during monitoring for quality in your project, you capture anomalies, it’s necessary for you to respond in order to bring the project back to its quality baseline. Document these changes, as such quality improvements could alter the quality management plan, procedures and resources allocation.
Free Templates to Help you Manage Quality
Quality management plans are complicated. You need to plan, monitor and report on progress, all while being flexible enough to make changes fast when they’re necessary. ProjectManager has dozens of free project management templates you can use for free. Here are a few related to quality management:
The free RACI chart template for Excel is a tool that helps make sure all your stakeholders are updated and working towards the project’s common goals. This free template lets you identify the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved with the project.
The quality management plan is part of your larger project plan. ProjectManager’s free management plan template for Word helps you scope out the entire project, including the quality management part. Then, you can schedule and assign tasks to your team.
There are risks inherent in every project, and if those issues arise, they can impact the quality of your work. That’s why you need a mechanism to identify and track them. ProjectManager’s free risk register template for Excel has everything you need to define the risk, determine its priority and what the potential impact on the project could be. By having your response to risk set in advance, you’re more likely to resolve it before it impacts your project.
How ProjectManager Helps with Quality Management Planning
While templates are a fine tool, they pale in comparison to project management software. The biggest problem is that templates are static documents that require a lot of work to update. ProjectManager is cloud-based software that delivers real-time data for more insightful decision-making and swifter action to keep your project on track.
Get Multiple Project Views
Managers love Gantt charts, but they’re not ideal for teams. ProjectManager comes with multiple project tools that let teams work how they want. We have Gantt charts, sheet views, kanban boards, calendar views and kanban boards that visualize the workflow. All project views are updated in real time, so no matter which you’re working on, you’re seeing the most current view.
Use Automation to Control Quality
Managers can customize workflows and set triggers to automate routine busywork. This frees up team members so they can concentrate on delivering quality. You can also control task status with task approvals to make sure only quality moves forward in production. You authorize who will make sure the task meets quality expectations.
Monitor Quality in Real Time
To keep track of quality and catch any issues fast, you need real-time data. ProjectManager’s live dashboard collects real-time data and calculates the numbers for you, which display in easy-to-read graphs and charts. For more details, use the one-click reporting feature. Filter all our reports to show what you want to see, then easily share with stakeholders to keep them updated.
ProjectManager is award-winning work and project management software that helps you plan, monitor and report on every aspect of your project. Create quality management plans, assign teams, monitor their progress and report to stakeholders to manage their expectations. You also get resource and task management features. Join the teams at NASA, Seimen’s and Nestle who are delivering quality with our tool and get started today for free.