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Concept of Plan Quality

Plan Quality focuses on:

  • Defining quality for the project

  • Identifying how quality will be achieved

The Plan Quality process requires inputs from:

  • Organizational process assets

  • Enterprise environmental factors

  • Stakeholder register

  • Scope baseline (scope statement, WBS, WBS dictionary)

  • Schedule baseline

  • Cost baseline

  • Risk register

Objective of Plan Quality process is identification of relevant organization/industry practices, standards, requirements for quality of the project, product of the project, and project management efforts. The output (result) of Plan Quality process is a Quality Management plan.

Project Standards

As a part of Plan Quality process, the project manager needs to look for any standards that can help the project to avoid Reinventing the wheel, that can help in higher quality levels. Some available standards include:

  • ISO 9000: Created by International Organization for Standardization (ISO) to help ensure organizations have quality procedures and that they follow them.

  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): OSHA set standards for safety of workers in a plant.

  • The United Nations Conventions on Contracts for International Sale of Goods (CISG): The CISG standard governs international sales transactions.

The project manager should also ensure that the project must comply with organizational process assets and Enterprise Environmental Factors. The project manager must also plan the project so that it meets customers quality standards. The project manager must then define any additional project specific standards and procedures that are needed. It should be noted that when the project manager defines additional standards and procedures, he should take appropriate care that these new practices do not violate other relevant standards. The project manager then needs to determine what work is required to meet those standards created for the project. Determination of specific measurements that will be made each week, each month, or for each deliverable should be made to ensure compliance with all standards. It is important to note that the level of quality efforts should be appropriate to the needs of the project. Quality must be balanced with other project constraints.

Tools and techniques used in Plan Quality process:

Cost Benefit Analysis:

This technique helps the project manager weigh the benefits of the quality efforts versus the costs to determine the appropriate quality level and requirements for the project.

Cost Of Quality (COQ):

COQ involves looking at costs of conformance and non-conformance to quality and creating an appropriate balance. The costs of conformance should be lower than costs of non-conformance.

Control Charts

Control charts are set up in Plan Quality as a part of the effort to define quality on the project. They are utilized in Perform Quality Control to determine if the results of a process are within the acceptable limits. During the Perform Quality Control process, samples are taken and plotted on the charts. The control chart shows whether the samples are within control limits. A control chart can be used to monitor project performance figures such as cost and schedule variances. It primarily helps monitor production and other processes to see if the results are within acceptable limits (i.e. in control). A special cause variation means the process is out of control.

Upper And Lower Control Limits

Control limits are acceptable range of variations of a process results. They are shown as two dashed lines. The acceptable range of measurements between the upper and lower control limits is set by the project manager and stakeholders based on the organization's quality standard. This range is calculated based on +/- 3 sigma (standard deviations). Data points outside this range indicates that the process is out of control.

Mean (AVERAGE)

The mean is indicated by a straight line in the middle of the control chart. It shows the middle of the range of acceptable variation.

Out Of Control

The process is out of a state of statistical control when:

  • A data point falls outside the control limits

  • There are non-random data points; these may be within the upper and lower control limits, such as the rule of seven.

Rule Of Seven

The rule of seven is a thumb rule (also known as heuristics). It refers to a group or series of non-random data points that total seven on one side of the mean. The rule of seven tells the project manager that even if these points are within the control limits, they are not random and the process may be out of control.

Assignable Cause / Special Cause Variation

If there is an assignable cause or special cause variation, it means a data point or series of data points require investigation to determine the cause of variation.

Benchmarking

This technique involves looking at other projects to get ideas for improvement on the current project and to provide a basis (or benchmark) to use in measuring quality performance.

Design Of Experiments (DOE)

DOE uses experimentation to statistically determine what variables will improve quality. DOE is faster and a more accurate statistical method that allows project managers to systematically change all of the important factors in a process and see which combination has a lower impact on the project.

Statistical Sampling

Doing quality audits for all the manufactured products in a project might be a time-consuming task it is best to take a sample of a population. Sampling is used when:

  • Auditing the population may take too long

  • It costs too much

  • Auditing is destructive

The sample size and frequency of measurements are determined as a part of the Plan Quality process, and the actual sampling is done in Perform Quality Control.

Flowcharting

A flowchart shows how a process or a system flows from beginning to end and how the elements interrelate. Flow charts can be used in many parts of project management.

Outputs Of Plan Quality

Following are the results of the Plan Quality process:

  • Quality Management Plan:

The quality management plan is the process to determine what quality is and to put a plan in place to manage quality .

  • Quality Metrics:

The project manager needs to think through the areas on the project that are important to measure and decide what measurement systems ar acceptable.

  • Checklist:

A quality checklist is the list of items to inspect, a list of steps to be performed, or a picture of the item to be inspected, with space to note any defects found.

  • Process Improvement Plan:

The plan for improving the processes is called the process improvement plan and it becomes a part of project management plan. Process improvement plan helps save time by increasing efficiency and preventing problems. It also saves money and increases the probability that the customer will be satisfied.

  • Project Management Plan and Project Document Updates:

Updates to the project management plan and project documents are needed throughout the project management process. 


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