Powerful Tools and Techniques for Project Quality

We emphasized the value and importance of planning your quality management system. In this section, we highlight ten of the most powerful quality-focused tools and techniques that you want to consider during your planning efforts, document in your Quality Management Plan, and then implement during the execution of your project.

  • Requirements Traceability Matrix A simple, yet often neglected technique to help control scope, expectations, and quality is the use of a requirements traceability matrix. The traceability matrix provides a documented link between the original set of approved requirements, any interim deliverable, all testing (verification) methods employed, and the final work product. This technique helps to ensure that the final work product(s) satisfy the targeted requirements and all of those requirements were properly validated.
  • Checklists Checklists are simple, yet powerful. They clearly capture and communicate the quality standards that must be met by the targeted work package, and they improve project team productivity. They are flexibleseparate checklists can be developed for each work product or project management process. They provide a mechanism to capture the lessons learned from past projects. They provide a mechanism to document the verification performed on the work package.
  • Templates The development and use of templates provides a way to both communicate and control the use of certain standards and to help communize the resulting work packages and procedures across projects. In addition, templates can capture lessons learned information (mostly updates and improvements based on prior experiences), provide guidance, and greatly improve the productivity level of a project team.
  • Reviews Reviews are a key technique for ensuring quality and managing expectations, and they can take many forms. The principle here is to plan for the review-feedback-correction cycle on most, if not all, of your key deliverables. Common examples of reviews are peer reviews, inspections, client walkthroughs, audits, testing cycles, and milestone reviews.
  • Completion criteria This starts during project definition with defining the acceptance criteria for the project, and it continues for each deliverable and work assignment. Answer this question in advance for each deliverable and work assignment: "How will we know when it is done?" Understanding the completion criteria up front increases productivity and avoids much of the re-work that can occur when quality requirements are not understood up front.
  • Small work packages You've seen this one before too. In addition to reasons previously mentionedmore accurate estimates and better controlsmall work packages provide a finer level of quality control too. By establishing completeness and correctness completion criteria for each work package and verifying each work package along the way, we provide many more opportunities to detect quality discrepancies as early in the project as possible. By doing this, we can take corrective actions when the costs are lower, and when time is still available.
  • Independent audits The use of an independent auditor is another specific example of the "review" technique mentioned earlier. The power of this technique is in establishing the quality criteria in advance and in making the project accountable to an outside entity.
  • Standards In many situations, specific quality standards either do not exist or have not been formally developed. In these cases, it is my recommendation, that you establish project standards up front that will be captured in both work assignments and quality checklists. And if at all possible, facilitate this standards development with the project teamyou'll be glad you did.
  • V method The V method is a term used for a common validation and verification approach that ensures that there is a validation and verification step for every deliverable and interim deliverable created. An overview of this method is illustrated in Figure 15.1. The left side of "V" notes each targeted deliverable and the right side of the "V" lists the verification method to be used for each deliverable directly across. This method allows us to check quality along the way rather than waiting to the end to discover there are quality defects.

    Figure 15.1. Illustration of V-method approach for software development project.

  • Quality Management Plan This is the document that describes and communicates the project's quality management system to the project stakeholders. Specifically, the Quality Management Plan should address most of these questions:

    • What is the scope of the quality management system?
    • How will either internal or external quality-based groups be involved?
    • What are the quality standards that must be met?
    • What approaches, tools, and techniques will be employed?
    • How will the standards be enforced?
    • How will quality defects/discrepancies be tracked and reported?
    • How will each deliverable be validated?
    • What are the expected costs?


Make sure the work and responsibilities associated with the project quality system are reflected in the WBS and project schedule.

Part i. Project Management Jumpstart

Project Management Overview

The Project Manager

Essential Elements for any Successful Project

Part ii. Project Planning

Defining a Project

Planning a Project

Developing the Work Breakdown Structure

Estimating the Work

Developing the Project Schedule

Determining the Project Budget

Part iii. Project Control

Controlling a Project

Managing Project Changes

Managing Project Deliverables

Managing Project Issues

Managing Project Risks

Managing Project Quality

Part iv. Project Execution

Leading a Project

Managing Project Communications

Managing Expectations

Keys to Better Project Team Performance

Managing Differences

Managing Vendors

Ending a Project

Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
Absolute Beginner[ap]s Guide to Project Management
ISBN: 078973821X
Year: 2006
Pages: 169

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