Plan Quality Management Inputs and Outputs on the PMP Certification Exam

Planning for quality for the PMP Certification Exam means identifying the quality standards you need for both the product and the project. You should plan for project and product quality throughout the project-planning phase.

Plan Quality Management. The process of identifying quality requirements and/or standards for the project and product, and documenting how the project will demonstrate compliance.

PMI takes the position that delivering more quality than is required is inappropriate. PMI views quality as “meeting the requirements.” Delivering better quality or grade is considered “gold plating” and is frowned upon because gold plating uses time and resources usually at additional cost to add features and functions that are not necessary. Keep that in mind when planning for quality management.

Plan Quality Management: Inputs

A lot of the product quality planning happens concurrently while developing the project management plan. For example, as you plan for scope and requirements management and gather requirements, you’re looking at performance, reliability, and maintainability requirements (and so forth). These are all related to product quality.

As you create the scope statement, the work breakdown structure (WBS), and the WBS dictionary, you will find additional information about product quality. In fact, product scope and product quality are so tightly linked that on smaller, less-complex projects, they aren’t really differentiated.

Many other inputs are used to plan for project quality. For example, you use the schedule and cost baselines to determine the quality of the project performance. The risk register can identify events that can negatively impact project or product quality. The stakeholder register documents stakeholders with an interest or impact on quality management.

Many products have standards and regulations that need to be followed for compliance or marketability reasons. Building codes are an example of regulations that affect the quality-planning process. Computer hardware configurations — such as USB ports, pin configurations, and the like — are examples of standards that affect the marketability of a product and that need to be considered when planning for product quality.

Your company policies often define processes that must be followed to ensure project and product quality. A key piece of information you can reference is the organization’s quality policy (assuming that one exists), which you can use as a foundation to develop a project-quality policy.

Plan Quality Management: Outputs

The output of all this work is a quality management plan, which is a component of the overall project management plan, describing how you plan to conduct the various quality processes on your project. In particular, it should address

  • Roles associated with quality management

  • Responsibilities associated with the roles

  • Quality assurance approach

  • Techniques and measurements used for quality control

  • Plans for quality improvement activities

When planning for quality control, you need to establish very detailed descriptions of what you will be measuring and what the acceptable measurements are: in other words, metrics. A metric is a measurement or definition that describes in very specific terms what something is and how it will be measured.

You can create checklists for processes to ensure that the proper steps are carried out in the proper order. Another use for checklists is to help audit the process or for a quality control person to use to monitor results.

When working on a process-improvement project, or if part of your project charter includes instructions to improve the processes used for a project, you will include a process-improvement plan as well. Contents for the process-improvement plan include

  • Process description

  • Process metrics

  • Targets for improvement

  • Improvement approach

  • Flowchart of the current process (sometimes called the “as-is process”)

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