Quality management an overview of the knowledge area
In project management, the purpose of quality management is simply to ensure that the project meets the needs for which it was created. This is a real problem. Most projects do not meet the aims for which they were created.
There are three processes within the project quality management knowledge area: Quality planning, Perform quality assurance, and Perform quality control. As we expect, these fit into the five process groups in a common sense, even logical, way, starting with planning (Table 8.2). Quality control does not start in initiation because that is too soon; one needs to know what the project is about and have some idea, albeit at a high level, before any value can be added by thinking about quality, so project planning is the right stage in which to start thinking about quality, and one starts by planning for quality. This chapter devotes most space to quality planning, because experience shows that if you get this right, then quality assurance and control are relatively straightforward.
The first part of planning for quality, which is described in more detail below, is to decide what quality means for this particular project and its deliverables, and what the relevant quality criteria are. Once the quality plan is done, which forms part of the overall project plan, there is nothing further to do until the execution stage of the project; and just as with project management as a whole, there is both a doing or execution part and, simultaneously, a monitoring and control part. That is to say, measuring or monitoring how well the project conforms to the planned quality standards is a distinct task from acting on the results of those measurements, just as measuring flour on a weighing scale is a different activity from mixing it with eggs and milk to form a pancake. Shortly we will look at each of the three processes within the project quality management knowledge area in more detail, but first let us define quality.
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