5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Chapter 8: Outputs of Plan Quality Management

1.  Introduction

The purpose of this post is to discuss the outputs to the process 8.1 Plan Quality Management.  This outputs are inputs to the other two quality processes as well as other project management processes from other knowledge areas.

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.  Outputs of Plan Quality Management

a.  Quality Management Plan

The main output of the process 8.1 Plan Quality Management is the Quality Management Plan.  This outlines the quality policies that will be implemented, so that they can be audited in the next process 8.2 Perform Quality Assurance, and the quality requirements that the management team plans to meet, which is demonstrated during the monitoring and controlling activities that take place in the process 8.3 Control Quality.

b.  Process Improvement Plan

The definition of a project has been changed in the 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide.  Before it was “a unique product, service, or result”; now it’s “a unique product, service, or result OR an improvement on an existing product, service, or result.”  This expanded definition of what a project is allows for process improvement like Six Sigma to be included as projects as well.

The Process Improvement Plan is one of the four subsidiary plans (the other three are Change Management, Configuration Management, Requirements Management) in the Project Management Plan, which consists of the performance baselines and the knowledge area management plans (like the Quality Management Plan) in addition to the subsidiary plans.

Here are the elements of the Process Improvement Plan

  •       — Process boundaries (the purpose of the process, its inputs and outputs, process owner, and the stakeholders of the process)
  •        –Process configuration (showing how the various processes fit together)
  •       — Process metrics (if there are any control limits to the processes)
  •       — Targets for improved performance

The process configuration and process boundaries are analogous to the WBS and the WBS dictionary, respectively, but for processes rather than activities, in that they show how they fit together and they give details concerning them.  The metrics and the targets for improved performance show what the current performance baseline is for the current state of the processes and the future (“new and improved”) state of those processes.

c.  Quality Metrics

What are the measurable project or product attributes that can be monitored and controlled in order to control the quality?  On-time performance, defect frequency, failure rate, are all examples of such quality metrics.

d.  Quality Checklists

Checklists are used to ensure consistency in tasks, to remove the variability that the human element naturally brings.

e.  Project Document Updates

  •      Stakeholder updates (to include who gets involved in decisions about various processes, or who gets informed    about them)
  •      Responsibility assignment matrix (to include who “owns” the various processes
  •     WBS and WBS dictionary

The first three of these five outputs (Quality Management Plan, Process Improvement Plan, Quality Metrics) will turn into inputs for the next process 8.2 Perform Quality Assurance, which is the subject of the next post.

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