Knowledge Area Executive Summary
The Quality Management Knowledge Area is focused on the processes for incorporating your organization’s quality policy regarding planning, managing, and controlling project and product quality requirements in order to meet stakeholder objectives. If your organization does not have a quality policy, you should create on for the project. The Quality Management Knowledge Area supports continuous process improvement for your project and the organization. You can find detail of all other PMBOK Knowledge areas in The Best PMP Study Guide.
- Process Groups covered by Quality Management:
- Monitoring and Controlling
- Processes in this Knowledge Area:
- Plan Quality Management
- Manage Quality
- Control Quality
- Major or important ITTOs
- Project Charter
- PM Plan
- Project Documents
- Approved Change Requests
- Work Performance Data
- Data Gathering
- Data Analysis
- Data Representation
- Test and Inspection Planning
- Problem Solving
- Quality Improvement Methods
- Testing/Product Evaluations
- Quality Management Plan
- Quality Metrics
- Quality Reports
- Test and Evaluation Documents
- Quality Control Measurements
- Verified Deliverables
- Work Performance Information
- Change Requests
- Critical concepts
In Project Quality Management, you must understand more than just the three processes, their inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. You must also understand and memorize a few important names in the quality realm. You must understand that quality management places prevention over inspection. In other words, you should focus on creating correct processes to generate quality outputs, rather than just focusing on keeping errors out of the hands of your customers. Both are important, but preventive processes and procedures will save both time and money overall. It is also critical to acknowledge the differences between quality and grade, as well as the differences between precision and accuracy.
There are 5 levels of effective Quality Management. They range from ‘most expensive’ to ‘most effective.’
- Let the customer find the defects
- Detect and correct defects before they get to the customer
- Use quality assurance to examine and correct the process (or processes) creating the defects
- Incorporate quality into planning and designing the project and product
- Create a culture dedicated to quality in processes and products
With that, let’s take a look at the three processes that make up this Knowledge Area. Our first process, much like the other Knowledge Areas, is a Planning Process called Plan Quality Management. The major outputs here are the Quality Management Plan and quality metrics. This process is all about what quality the work on the project needs to have. The outputs here will provide guidance and direction on how quality will be managed and subsequently verified throughout the project. The Quality Management Plan is going to provide us with guidance in several areas:
- Quality Standards
- Quality Objectives
- Quality Roles and Responsibilities
- The Project Deliverables and the processes subject to a quality review
- Planned Quality Control and Management activities
- Tools for Quality to be used
- Major procedures relevant for the project including how to deal with non-conformance, corrective actions, and continuous improvement.
The next process, Manage Quality, is an Executing Process. This process translates the Quality Management Plan into executable quality activities, which incorporate the organization’s quality policies into the project. As stated earlier, if there are not Quality Management policies for your organization, you should create policies for your project. Manage Quality work falls within the “cost of conformance” area and is centered on process improvement. The Manage Quality process will use data and results from our next process, Control Quality, to reflect the overall quality status of the project. The key benefit of this process is increasing the probability of meeting the quality objectives and also identify ineffective processes and causes of poor quality.
The final process in Quality Management is Control Quality. This process makes sure that project deliverables and project work are meeting quality standards. Its primary purpose is about monitoring and recording quality results in order to assess performance and ensure the project outputs are complete, correct, and meet customer expectations
Knowledge Area Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How are verified deliverables an output of the Control Quality process? Aren’t they also an output of the Validate Scope process?
A: There is a difference between a verified deliverable and an accepted deliverable. These terms are often confused by students. A verified deliverable (also sometimes called a validated deliverable) has been inspected and has been determined to be within the regulations, requirements, specification, or imposed condition (process to determine ‘correctness’). This is an output of the Control Quality process. An accepted deliverable has been reviewed by the customer and has been determine to meet the needs/requirements stated by the customer (process to determine ‘completeness’). This is an output of the Validate Scope process.
Let’s look at a real-world example to bring the difference to the front…
You are building a new home. You request that the carpet be installed with an 8-lb carpet pad underneath. During the installation of the carpet materials, the contractor inspects the carpet pad that his crew has installed prior to laying the carpet layer (verification). After the carpet has been installed, he asks you to walk through to check the new carpet installation. You walk from room to room and are satisfied with the work and the feel of the carpets under your feet (acceptance). In this example, the contractor inspected for correctness, while you, the customer, inspected for completeness.
What to Memorize in this Knowledge Area
The Project Quality Management Knowledge Area requires you to memorize (or include in your ‘Brain Dump’) the following items:
- The difference between precision and accuracy
- The difference between quality and grade
- Quality Management principles (prevention over inspection, Plan-Do-Check-Act, etc..)
- Management responsibility in Quality
- Cost of Quality
- Cost of Conformance
- Cost of Non-conformance
- Quality Management Data Representation Tools (Affinity Diagrams, Cause-and-Effect Diagrams, etc)
- Design of Experiments
- Process Improvement Plans
- Quality Management and Control Tools
- The purpose of quality audits
- Attribute Sampling
- Quality Tolerances
- Important names in quality and their contributions
Knowledge Area Critical Reasoning & Testing Skills
Q: You are the Project Manager of an installation project for a new manufacturing arm for a vehicle plant. You have noticed that your machine may not be working correctly and your chief engineer believes that there may be various causes or factors to the variances in expected output. You begin to graphically display these together on a chart to determine the primary and secondary root causes and if they are related. What process are you performing and what diagram are you using?
- Manage Quality using an Ishikawa diagram
- Control Quality using an Ishikawa diagram
- Manage Quality using a scatter diagram
- Control Quality using a scatter diagram
EXPLANATION: In this question, you need to know the purposes of or actions taken in each of the identified processes as well as the purposes for the 7-Basic Quality Tools. Let’s start with the processes.
In Manage Quality, we are performing data analysis from Quality Control Measurements such as process analysis and root cause analysis to validate the PROCESS. In Control Quality, we are performing data analysis on test and evaluation documents based upon our quality metrics using performance review and root cause analysis on the PRODUCT or SERVICE. In this scenario, we are in the Manage Quality process.
Now the tools… Ishikawa Diagrams are used to determine the root cause of a deficiency based upon primary and secondary causes. Scatter diagrams are used to determine the correlation between two items; i.e. if the presence of one thing (x-axis) causes an increase in another (y-axis). In this case, we are asked to determine if the primary and secondary are related. This means that both options are potentially correct, so we need to examine a little further. The question specifically asks if they are related. The Ishikawa diagram shows primary and secondary causes. The scatter diagram is used to determine if the presence of one causes an increase in the other; i.e. are they related. For this question, the BEST answer is C.
Knowledge Area Closing Summary
Project Quality Management is important to project success. It is even more vital to focus on quality if your organization does not have a published set of quality processes or procedures. This entire knowledge area centers on the activities that an organization performs that determine quality policies, processes, objectives, and responsibilities to ensure the product or result of the project will satisfy the overall needs for why it was undertaken in the first place. How you measure quality or the techniques used to ensure quality on the project will depend on the overall goal of the project and the type of deliverables being produced. In other words, this can be a moving target if careful planning and management are not initiated. You cannot afford to ignore or reduce the focus on this Knowledge Area as a part of your Study Plan. You must ensure that you are prepared for the ways that quality can affect your projects and how you will be tested on your PMP® exam. The team at PM-ProLearn is here to help you find success in this area!