What is project quality management in project management?

What is project quality management in project management


Quality is never an accident. It is always the result of intelligent effort. – John Ruskin

The common mistake of wishful thinking we all project managers make is that quality will be built into the project. But the truth of managing projects in the real world is that we have to define, monitor, and manage project management quality.

Project quality management focuses on ensuring quality in a project. It is the alleged fourth constraint of the project that a manager has to actively manage along with the other three constraints of a project (cost, scope, and time) to ensure the project’s success. This is because every client expects the product or service to fulfill their quality requirements.

In this post, we will talk about quality project management in detail. We will learn about the three phases of quality management in a project, tools for quality project management, tips to create a project quality plan, and more.

What is project quality management?

Project quality management is the process of ensuring the quality of deliverables of a project. It involves defining the quality standards for a project’s deliverables, measuring the quality of the project activities based on those agreed standards, and taking corrective measures if a project deliverable deviates from its quality standards. It is essential to proactively manage this process continuously to ensure the project’s quality.

The purpose of quality project management is to reduce project risks and prevent project failure by delivering the quality requirements of a project. Quality directly impacts the cost of the project. Thus, for a project to be cost-effective, a manager needs to work within the constraint of quality. 

According to the PMI, “Cost-effectiveness is a result of the quality built into the project. Without quality throughout the project, there is no cost-effectiveness.”

What are the benefits of project quality management?

Most analyses conclude that 65 to 80% of IT projects fail to meet their objectives, and also run significantly late or cost far more than planned.

Project quality management offers a range of benefits for the organization. At first glance, it seems like an additional cost, but in the long run, the cost of quality in project management saves you money.

Benefits of project quality management

Here are the key benefits of quality project management:

1. Customer satisfaction

A project management quality plan includes a clear description of the project’s end goals. By applying quality project management, you can create products that satisfy the client’s needs and quality expectations. This improves client satisfaction, reduces the risk of project failure, and improves brand image when your customers take notice you are delivering quality work.

2. Reduce costs   

Project quality management requires you to perform some extra tasks and quality checks from time to time which costs extra money and resources. However, the absence of quality management projects leads to major losses. It is because you are not able to identify and resolve issues early on and you have to rework again and again which can derail your project schedule, scope, and cost.

3. Quality assurance 

A well-designed project management quality plan outlines the quality requirements, and activities to ensure meeting quality standards and quality control measures. Thus, everyone knows about the quality expectations, roles and responsibilities, quality checklists, and plan of action if something goes south. This improves operational efficiency, promotes collaboration, and streamlines quality management operations. 

4) Increased productivity

When teams are constantly fixing mistakes, it can be demoralizing and hinder overall productivity. Quality management fosters a culture of ownership and continuous improvement. By empowering teams to take pride in their work and focus on delivering quality results, you’ll see a boost in morale and overall productivity. This positive work environment leads to a more engaged and motivated workforce.

5) Mitigated risks 

Project quality management isn’t just about deliverables; it’s about proactively managing potential risks. Regular quality checks throughout the project lifecycle help identify and address potential problems early on. This enables taking preventative measures, minimizing the impact of unforeseen issues, and ensuring the project stays on track. It helps catch issues early to avoid costly rework and delays.

What are the four stages of project quality management?

Project quality management starts from the planning stage and carries through the execution and completion stages. Corresponding to the stage of the project, there are three core quality management processes: quality planning, quality assurance, and quality control.

Stages of project quality management

Any project management quality plan must have three processes. Have a look at the detailed explanation of the three phases, elements, or processes of quality management in a project.

1. Quality planning 

Quality planning in project management is the process of identifying and defining the quality standards for the quality measurement of the project activities or deliverables. 

It includes defining a clear and detailed description of each project deliverable, painting the picture of the finished product of a project, and describing the quality requirements of a project. 

Define a clear and detailed description of each project deliverable

After identifying and defining the project quality requirements, key stakeholders and a project manager of a project outline the approaches, plans, processes, and methods for quality management and assign owners to the tasks planned.

Performing this step at the initial stage of the project is crucial for quality project management. Ensuring the inclusion of a project quality management plan in the project plan guarantees successful quality control.   

2. Quality assurance 

In project management, quality assurance ensures the correct implementation of all measures listed in the quality planning stage to maintain quality.

It includes performing planned activities to ensure that all the quality practices recommended in the quality project management plan are in place. This ensures quality requirements for a product or service are fulfilled. 

A project manager uses a project management tool or a system of quality metrics, quality checklists, and audits to track and determine whether the quality management plan is proceeding as planned. 

3. Quality control

Quality control in project management is an operational process of taking corrective actions to solve a problem. It is not about taking steps to prevent problems but focusing on taking corrective measures to solve a problem. It includes analyzing the problem and implementing corrective measures. 

A project quality manager measures the problem against the quality standards and tries to implement the corrective measures to achieve the goals or ensure compliance with the applicable standards.

While quality assurance occurs before a problem is identified, quality control occurs after a problem has been identified and suggests methods of improvement.

4. Quality improvement 

Quality improvement is the process of analyzing the quality management process of a current project to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the project management processes. The purpose of quality improvement is that the current project and future ones will better meet customer satisfaction.

Read more: Project management plan – everything you need to know about   

What are project quality management tools & techniques?

PMI says, “Too much quality, or “overkill” on the quality required for an efficient operation, can eradicate project cost-effectiveness just as quickly as too little quality.” Therefore, it is a great idea to use standard methods for project quality management.  

1. Project network diagrams 

A project network diagram is a chart that helps teams visualize the activities that need to be completed throughout a project. It talks about the schedule and sequence of all activities of a project and uses the boxes and arrows to depict the flow of tasks. It is an important tool for quality project management as you can easily identify if any activity is not followed.   

There are two main types of network diagrams in project management: the arrow diagramming method (ADM) and the precedence diagramming method (PDM).

2. Affinity diagrams

Affinity diagram is a tool that allows you to organize and categorize ideas, thoughts, or information about a project in groups with common relationships. It is a great tool for quality project management as it allows you to identify quality requirements for similar activities.         

3. Matrix diagrams

A matrix diagram serves as a tool to establish relationships between data sets. In the context of quality management, it establishes relationships between deliverables and quality standards. This is a great tool for quality assurance as for each deliverable you have a set of quality standards to match. 

In project management, utilize a matrix diagram for quality management activities such as matching quality requirements with specifications, reviewing the fulfillment of quality requirements, and reallocating resources based on quality control needs.

Matrix diagrams are primarily of five types:

  • L-shaped matrix 
  • T-shaped matrix
  • Y-shaped matrix
  • C-shaped matrix
  • X-shaped matrix

4. Process decision program charts 

A process decision program chart is a project planning tool that is used to identify what might go wrong in a project plan under development. It analyzes the problems associated with project tasks and focuses on developing countermeasures to prevent those problems.    

5. Interrelationship diagrams 

American Society for Quality (ASQ) defines an interrelationship diagram as a new management planning tool that depicts the relationship among factors in a complex situation. It is used to depict cause-and-effect relationships between activities that are not easily recognizable.

How to create a project quality management plan? 

A project quality management plan is a document that outlines the company’s strategy for quality management of a project. It is a part of the project plan and should be created carefully in coordination with the key stakeholders of a project.

Without the right quality project management plan in place, even the most skilled and educated project teams with the most modern tools may fail to maintain project quality.

Here are the steps to create a quality project management plan:

1. Define project quality requirements

First of all, define what quality means to you for a project deliverable. Write down the client’s expectations from the project, take into account industry standards, and interview end-users to define the quality requirements. The purpose is to create a shared understanding of the project quality.

2. Define quality metrics 

Define how you are going to measure the quality. Quality can be managed in two ways: product and process. Product quality talks about the quality of features of the product whereas process quality talks about how good teams are functioning to deliver results.

Decide the quality metrics to measure the quality of activities in a project. The most commonly used quality metrics in project management are:

  • Project status 
  • Cost performance index 
  • Earned value
  • Resource utilization   
  • Budget utilization
  • Cycle time
  • Cost variance  
  • Deliverable quality 

However, it is important to note that quality metrics for quality project management vary according to the industry.      

3. Describe acceptance criteria for the project deliverables

Acceptance criteria are probably the most important factor in project quality management. It is defined as the conditions that must be satisfied for a product deliverable or user story to be accepted. Define the acceptance criteria.      

4. Define quality assurance and control processes 

Outline the tasks, processes, and checklists that the project team needs to follow to ensure quality assurance throughout the project. It can include activities like inspections, reviews, audits, and testing procedures. 

Define the quality control actions to be taken if quality standards are not met in a project.  

5. Assign owners for quality management activities    

A project team needs to follow a long list of activities to monitor and manage project quality. Assign owners to the quality management activities. You can use the RACI matrix to assign owners to tasks. 

6. Document the quality management measures 

Document the quality requirements for the project, quality assurance measures you need to take, and the quality control actions. You can create customized templates to streamline various actions to be followed at different project stages in a quality management plan.  

7. Take approval from stakeholders

Once a project quality management plan is created, send it for approval to stakeholders. It helps you find the lapses in the plan by utilizing the expertise of the stakeholders and gaining increased stakeholders’ buy-in to the project quality management plan.

Strategies for identifying, preventing, and resolving quality issues in a project

Quality in a project must be built, monitored, and managed through the project cycle. For that, you have to make an effort. Here are some practical strategies for identifying, preventing, and resolving quality issues in a project:      

1. Create a workflow to streamline quality management operations

The best way to ensure that every activity of the project quality management is followed is to make it a part of the workflow. This will ensure that quality checks are followed before sending out the work for approval. 

create a workflow to streamline quality management operations

2. Use the standardized techniques for quality management   

Quality is a subjective and intangible aspect but it is not an arbitrary process. There are standard methods, processes, and frameworks available that guide you through quality management. Use tools like flowcharts, checklists, control charts, cause-effect diagrams, RACI matrix, and templates for quality management.  

3. Use a project management software 

Project quality management is carried out throughout the project lifecycle. Use project management software to manage every phase of quality project management. It helps team members clearly understand the quality expectations, a quality manager determines how to measure whether a project team is meeting quality expectations, and allows a project manager to implement any necessary changes along the way. 

Read more: 41 Best project management tools for 2024    

Manage project quality with ProofHub

ProofHub is all-in-one project management and team collaboration software that helps you manage project quality at every phase of the project. You can create a project plan, break a project into tasks, define project deliverables, set goals and milestones, and develop a project quality management plan. 

Here’s how ProofHub can help you with quality project management: 

  • You can use project discussions to brainstorm for project quality planning
  • You can create a customized workflow to add quality assurance activities into the sequence of tasks
  • You can share project quality management plan document with project team members at a centralized place 
  • You can track the progress of the tasks against the set quality metrics with reports 
  • You can use a Gantt chart to visualize the project plan and take action for project quality control.


Quality in a project needs to be built, managed, and monitored throughout the project. It does not happen by accident. You have to make efforts in the right direction consistently. The best thing is it offers you returns. High-quality projects are cost-effective, fulfill clients’ needs, and help you gain more business. 

A project quality management plan lays the roadmap for project quality. With the right understanding of project quality processes, tools, and methods, you can successfully build quality in a project.

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Frequently asked questions

What is the best definition of project quality management?

The best definition of quality project management from a project manager’s perspective can be the process of identifying, monitoring, and managing the project quality with the purpose of meeting or exceeding the client’s quality expectations.

Why is quality management important in project management?

Ensuring project quality is crucial for meeting a client’s expectations and achieving their satisfaction. From the organization’s point of view, project quality is important to ensure the cost-effectiveness of the project. It is because poor quality means rework which will cost you money, time, and resources. Also, when you deliver quality projects, it helps you gain new business.

What are the main characteristics of project quality management?

Quality project management should focus on addressing the unique needs of an organization’s project. However, it includes some common elements or characteristics. The main characteristics are quality policies, quality procedures, quality processes, quality objectives, quality analysis, corrective actions, and quality improvement.

What is the difference between project management and project quality management?

Project management is the process of planning, monitoring, and managing projects. It includes identifying the project scope, planning budget and schedule, managing resources, and creating and implementing a project plan.

On the other hand, quality project management focuses on managing the quality of the project. It includes identifying project quality requirements, creating a project quality plan, and managing and monitoring the project quality.

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