Project Quality Management: Definition & Example

Instructor: Laury Hales

Laury has taught in professional adult education settings for over 10 years and is currently working on a PhD in Organizational Psychology.

Project quality management is the knowledge areas within the project management field that addresses identifying, verifying, and controlling quality in any project. This lesson will provide an overview of project quality management.

What Is Project Quality Management?

Project quality management is a knowledge area in project management concerned with the quality of a project. It addresses the project's resulting product and the project management of the project itself. The goal of project quality management is to identify, assess, control, and achieve product quality using specific processes and activities.

Defining Quality

Before we start, it's important to clearly understand quality. At its simplest, quality means meeting the intended purpose. Quality is also known as 'fit for use.' Quality products meet the stated requirements, have tolerable levels of defects, and are consistently produced. In short, quality means accurate (correct) and precise (consistent) results within a project.

As an example, let's look at a project to integrate production of a brand-new type of screw into an existing production line. The new screw is the same in size and thread to one that the production line already makes, but the new screw has a different head. As the project manager, you need to make sure the production line makes new screws that meet the specifications and are fit for use. In other words, your project needs to produce quality screws.

The first step you would have to accomplish is to identify the specifications of the screw so that you can identify the quality criteria you will use to assess the production line's new screws. The new screws require a five point, flower-shaped head that is exactly .8mm. These specifications become your quality criteria, and you want to make sure the production line consistently produces screws with this criteria.

Then, once production is up and running, you will have to assess and control the quality of the new screws. This can be extensive, like inspecting every screw that comes off the production line, or it can be more random, like one batch in every 1,000 is inspected. If the new screws aren't the exact length, size, and head shape as required, then you have a quality issue. You would have to investigate to find out why the quality criteria isn't being met, and then control quality by fixing the issue so specifications are met.

Quality Theories

A quality theory is a system of ideas for how to manage quality. Every theory has a specific focus that it believes is the key to successfully managing quality. As you define, assess, and control quality in your project, you will find that each project lends itself to a specific focus, so you will naturally lean towards one or more of the quality theories to accomplish project quality management. Determining which quality theory you will use during a project depends on how comfortable you are with a particular theory, and whether or not that theory lends itself to the project.

There are a number of quality theories, any of which can be used in project quality management. Below is a brief description of the more popular quality theories:

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