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Quality Control

Quality management is the act of overseeing all activities and tasks needed to maintain a desired level of excellence. This includes the determination of a quality policy, creating and implementing quality planning and assurance, and quality control and quality improvement. Quality management ensures that an organization, product or service is consistent. It has four main components: quality planning, quality assurance, quality control and quality improvement.

Definition of Quality

Quality has been defined as “the totality of characteristics of an entity that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs.

  • The stated and implied quality needs are the inputs used in defining project requirements from the donor and the beneficiaries. It is also defined as the “Conformance to requirements or fitness for use”
  • Which means that the product or services must meet the intended objectives of the project and have a value to the donor and beneficiaries and that the beneficiaries can use the material or service as it was originally intended. The central focus of quality management is meeting or exceeding stakeholder’s expectations and conforming to the project design and specifications.

That definition applies to projects small and large, and although quality metrics may vary widely from one project to another, they tend to be able to be grouped under the headings of time, cost and the attributes of deliverables from the project.

  • Projects tend to be time-bound and scheduled, with a set of steps, and a sequence in which to complete them. If the scheduling is done improperly, or if the execution is poor, these activities could be far ahead of, or far behind schedule. Therefore, schedule variance is one metric of project quality.
  • Another metric of project quality is adherence to project budgets. Since most project sponsors would want to see their projects completed in a cost-effective manner, the cost overruns, or adherence of a given project to the allocated budget is a key aspect of its quality from a cost perspective.
  • The deliverables from the project will each have various quality aspects associated with them. For instance, if the project’s objective was to construct a building, systems within the building such as the structure, electrical systems, HVAC, floor space arrangements, etc., each need to have a quality plan. The quality of the building as a whole is determined by the quality of its individual systems/aspects. While the remaining two quality metrics concern the project schedules and resources and the way they’re run, this metric concerns the quality aspects of the deliverables themselves.

What is Quality Control?

    Quality management is focused not only on product and service quality, but also on the means to achieve it. Quality management, therefore, uses quality assurance and control of processes as well as products to achieve more consistent quality.
    Project quality management (QM) is not a separate, independent process that occurs at the end of an activity to measure the level of quality of the output. It is not purchasing the most expensive material or services available on the market. Quality and grade are not the same, grade are characteristics of a material or service such as additional features. A product may be of good quality (no defects) and be of low grade (few or no extra features).

The Purpose of Management of Quality

    The main principle of project quality management is to ensure the project will meet or exceed stakeholder’s needs and expectations. The project team must develop a good relationship with key stakeholders, specially the donor and the beneficiaries of the project, to understand what quality means to them. One of the causes for poor project evaluations is the project focuses only in meeting the written requirements for the main outputs and ignores other stakeholder needs and expectations for the project.
    Quality must be viewed on an equal level with scope, schedule and budget. If a project donor is not satisfied with the quality of how the project is delivering the outcomes, the project team will need to make adjustments to scope, schedule and budget to satisfy the donor’s needs and expectations. To deliver the project scope on time and on budget is not enough, to achieve stakeholder satisfaction the project must develop a good working relationship with all stakeholders and understand their stated or implied needs.