What You Need to Plan for Quality Management for the PMP Certification Exam

By Cynthia Snyder Stackpole

Another step in the project planning journey that you need to now for the PMP Certification Exam is planning for quality. Planning for quality 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.

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.