5th Edition PMBOK® Guide: Chapter 8: Process 8.1 Plan Quality Management

This post gives an overview of the first of the three processes in the Quality Management Knowledge Area, namely process 8.1 Plan Quality Management, with summaries of the inputs, tools & techniques, and output of the process.

1.  Inputs

The information about the performance baselines and the stakeholder and risk registers form the background of quality management, but the main substance of quality management comes from requirements, which translate the customer expectations into the various technical requirements that the project will fulfill.


1. Project Management Plan The following elements of the PM Plan are used in the development of the Quality Management Plan:

  • Scope baseline (= project scope statement, WBS, and WBS dictionary)
  • Schedule baseline
  • Cost baseline

These three performance baselines covering scope, time and cost are respectively the outputs of processes 5.4 Create WBS, 6.6 Develop Schedule, and 7.3 Determine Budget.

2. Stakeholder register Aids in identifying which stakeholders possess an interest in, or have an impact on, quality.  This is an output of 13.1 Identify Stakeholders.
3. Risk register Contains information on threats and opportunities which may impact quality.  This is an output of 11.2 Identify Risks.
4. Requirements documentation Captures the various requirements (project, product, and quality) that the project shall meet pertaining to shareholder expectations.  This is an output of 5.2 Collect Requirements.
5. EEFs
  • Governmental regulations
  • Rules, standards, guidelines specific to the application area of the project
  • Working or operating conditions of the project which may affect quality
  • Cultural perceptions which may influence expectations about quality
6. OPAs
  • Organizational policies, procedures, guidelines about quality
  • Historical databases
  • Lessons learned
1. Cost-benefit analysis Compares the cost of each quality activity to its expected benefit.
2. Cost of quality (COQ) Compares the overall cost of performing quality activities (cost of conformance) with the expected benefit in terms of the reduction of the cost of nonconformance, i.e., the costs that would be incurred if those activities were not implemented.
3. Seven basic quality tools These seven tools solve quality problems.

  • Cause-and-effect diagrams (aka fishbone or Ishikawa diagrams):  for finding root cause of quality problems
  • Flowcharts:  for analyzing processes as a step towards improving them
  • Checksheets:  for collecting data on a quality problem
  • Pareto diagrams:  identifies those few sources that are responsible for the most quality problems
  • Histograms:  describes the statistical distribution of quality data
  • Control charts:  determines whether process is stable or predictable
  • Scatter diagrams:  used to indicate correlation between variables
4. Benchmarking Compares planned project with comparable projects in order to provide a basis for measuring performance and to identify best practices and generate ideas for improvement.
5. Design of experiments (DOE) Statistical method for identifying and then systematically changing all of the important factors that affect product quality.
6. Statistical sampling Choosing part of a population of interest for inspection.
7. Additional quality planning tools
  • Brainstorming
  • Force field analysis
  • Nominal group technique
  • Quality management and control tools
8. Meetings The project team may hold meetings to develop the quality management plan.
1. Quality management plan Describes how the organization’s quality policies will be implemented, and how the project management team plans to meet the quality requirements.
2. Process improvement plan Details the steps for analyzing project management and product development processes to identify activities which add value.
3. Quality metrics Describes an attribute of the project or product and how the quality control process will measure it.  They are used in both the quality assurance and control quality processes.
4. Quality checklists Verifies that a set of required steps has been performed.  They should incorporate the acceptance criteria included in the scope baseline.
5. Project documents updates
  • Stakeholder register
  • Responsibility assignment matrix
  • WBS and WBS dictionary

2.  Tools & Techniques

The cost-benefit analysis and Cost of Quality (COQ) are mainly tools for justifying the expense of the quality activities to management and to the interested stakeholders.

For designing and implementing quality activities, you have the tools of benchmarking, which is like lessons learned, but not from one’s own past projects, but by those done by others.

For actually performing the quality control measurements, you have the tools of statistical sampling.  If one finds there are quality problems, then the seven basic quality tools can help you isolate the causes of problems, and then with design of experiments, you can demonstrate that you have indeed isolated those causes that contribute to the most problems.

Process improvement processes are also included in the tools & techniques, as are some of the “group decision” quality tools such as brainstorming, and force field analysis.

All of these tools and techniques are important, and I will be doing separate posts on Cost of Quality, the Seven Basic Tools, and some other quality tools that I feel need highlighting with a post of their own.

3.  Outputs

The main output of Plan Quality Management is, unsurprisingly, the Quality Management Plan, one of the knowledge plans that make up the omnibus Project Management Plan.  Another output, the Process Improvement Plan, is one of the four subsidiary plans that make up the Project Management Plan.  The quality metrics and quality checklists are also valuable inputs to the other two quality processes.

The next post will cover the Cost of Quality, because this is important in now only educating stakeholders in why quality activities are being undertaken, but in setting the level of quality for a project.

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