Goal: Plan for quality

Before a project begins, you should identify the quality standards that are necessary to achieve the project objectives. After the quality standards are established, you can adjust the scope, resources, and schedule as necessary to achieve the quality that you want.

Tip   This article is part of a series of articles within the Project Map that describe a broad set of project management activities. We call these activities "goals" because they are organized around the project management life cycle: Build a plan, track and manage a project, and close a project.

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Quality User Goal

number 1  Identify the appropriate quality standards     You may want to incorporate in your project the measures that you can use to determine the successful implementation or outcome of the project. The quality standards that you follow should help your team satisfy all project goals, as well as prevent costly mistakes.

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A quality standard is a measure that you can use to determine the successful implementation or outcome of a project.

The quality standards that you follow should help your team satisfy all project goals as well as prevent costly mistakes, provide the resources that are needed to complete the project, meet the project schedule objectives, improve productivity, and meet the customer's requirements.

Quality standards that you can apply to a project include:

  • Your organization's quality policy    A quality policy expresses an organization's commitment to quality. It describes the kind of quality effort that an organization expects from its workers. If your organization doesn't have a quality policy, you can create one for the project.

  • A detailed description of the product or service provided by the project    A well-organized, comprehensive description of the product or service provides a blueprint to follow as well as a reference point that you can compare with the actual accomplishment.

  • Any standards that are specific to the product or service that is provided by the project    Industrywide standards exist for many products and services. For example, if you manufacture cars, you must comply with standards and regulations set by industry and government. Find out about standards that are relevant to your project, and make sure your team follows them.

  • A statement of project deliverables    Project deliverables are the tangible results that you deliver to customers; they must satisfy the customer's needs. The deliverables statement includes the type, number, and quality of the items that your project team has agreed to deliver.

    Learn more about how to create and manage project deliverables.

You should incorporate quality standards into the project planning process, because these standards can affect major aspects of the project, such as cost and schedule. For example, to achieve the desired product quality, you might need to hire costly specialists or add more testing time to the schedule.

Number 2  Determine how the quality affects the scope     To adjust your project plan to meet your quality goals, you might need, for example, to add testing and approval steps.

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In examining how the quality affects the scope, you may want to consider the following:

  • Consider the impact of the scope on the quality     You might need to reduce the scope to meet the finish date or the budget. Or, after building your project plan, you might have more time or money than expected. In either case, you can change the scope of the project. When you decide whether and how to change the project scope, consider that the quality and the scope are closely related. If you reduce the scope, you might have to accept a decreased level of quality. If you increase the scope, you will probably increase the quality of the project and the resulting product.

  • Change the scope of tasks     When you cut the scope, you typically remove some tasks or decrease the duration of the tasks. The tasks that you remove might be those that don't affect the deliverable but that can affect the level of quality that is built into that deliverable. If you decrease certain task durations, that might mean that the resources don't have as much time to perform high-quality work. Likewise, if you have more time or budget than expected, you can add tasks or increase the task duration. Adding tasks or increasing the task duration can increase the level of quality in your project.

  • Change the quality of the resources     If you are trying to cut costs to meet your budget, you might replace a more expensive resource with a less expensive one. Higher-quality resources, whether they are people, equipment, or materials, are often the more expensive ones. Replacing them with less expensive resources can mean slower work, less skill, or a lower grade of material. If you find that you have more budget than expected, you can replace less expensive resources with more expensive ones. Increasing the resource quality can increase the level of quality in your project.

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Applies To: Project Standard 2007, Project 2007

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