Quality is conformance to requirements. The formal ISO and PMBOK definition is 'the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfils requirements'. A project or its deliverables can fail to meet a quality objective in three ways:
There are three processes within project quality management:
The purpose of quality management is to add value by explicitly building into your project the idea of quality. This means having a plan for quality and then working to the plan, making adjustments along the way as necessary. In one way, this is no more than common sense, as is the notion of quality; the value of making quality an explicit part of project management is that it can reduce costs and risks and increase value to do so.
Like finance and risk, quality is a sub-discipline of general management with its own distinct tools and techniques. Central to quality management is the quality plan. This should state clearly what the quality objectives for the project are, and how they will be achieved. Key inputs to the plan are the project plan and the scope statement. The quality planning process should consider options for quality objectives, make a selection on the basis of cost benefit tools and techniques, and show how the objectives will be achieved. Being seen to achieve the objectives is as important as achieving them, which is called quality assurance. Quality assurance is about inspiring confidence that quality standards will be met. Quality control, in contrast, is about actually meeting them. Both quality assurance and quality control are essential in quality management, and both depend on having done quality planning.
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