Perform quality assurance
Perform quality assurance is an executing process with the main focus of overall process improvement by tenaciously improving the activities and processes power under taken to achieve quality.
The PMBOK is equally focused on not just improving the product but also the process, because improving the process and aligned activities will have a positive effect on improving the quality of the products and bringing about an overall reduction of cost.
This process is often confused with the perform quality control which is a monitoring and controlling process where each deliverable is inspected measured and tested to ensure that it meets quality standards.
Perform quality assurance is the process of auditing the quality requirements and the results from quality control measurements, to ensure appropriate quality standards and operational definitions are used. Whereas, perform quality control is the process of monitoring and recording results of the executing the quality activities to assess performance and two recommends any necessary changes.
The main inputs to the perform quality assurance process is the quality plan, and therefore this process which is an ongoing activity throughout the project cannot start until the quality plan has been created.
There are four inputs to the perform quality assurance process:
Project management plan.
It is actually the quality management plan portion that is of interest here as it describes how the process of perform quality assurance will be carried out. Also of interest here is the process improvement plan which details how the work is being performed and what actions might be taken to improve this performance and as such is a key input.
During the process plan quality these were defined describing how quality will be measured and may relate to any aspect of quality. One is important is that each quality metric must be measurable and so details of the amount and units for each metric must be clarified and so provides an objective means of measurement.
Quality control measurements.
These are an output from the perform quality control process, and consist of important documented measurements of quality levels and compliance.
These measurements are derived by inspecting and reviewing all project deliverables to ensure they comply with specifications, as well as coming from potential areas to improve any aspect of the management of the project.
Work performance information.
As already stated, perform quality assurance is concerned with process improvement, and so work performance information is an important input as it will assist in identifying areas where process improvements are needed. This input will also include information regarding areas with process improvements have worked. In summary, the purpose here is to fix poor process areas and it knowledge or possibly enhance successful process improvements.
There are four outputs from the perform quality assurance process:
Since this process carries out analysis and evaluation then it is normal to expect that change requests would be a natural outcome of this process, and as such change requests is the main output. Most change requests from this process would be about procedural changes.
Project management plan updates.
As a result of this process the way in which the project is being managed is likely to change. Within the project management plan is the quality management plan and the process improvement plan and one or both of these two documents are highly likely to be updated.
Project document updates.
Changes to quality can impact just about any element of the project including budget, schedule, scope, risk, resources, ect. So therefore any particular knowledge area and their related plans may need to be updated as a result of performing this process.
Organisational process assets updates.
These consist of any assets which can be used for future projects and as such should be updated whenever such practices are implemented or indeed if any new information has been learned. These assets are a common inputs to many of the PMBOK processes, and therefore in the spirit of overall process improvement, it is important that the outputs of this process are fed back into the organisational portfolio of assets.
There are four tools that are used within perform quality assurance:
Plan quality and perform quality control tools and techniques.
These are common tools that are also used for the plan quality process and perform quality control process.
This list of tools is large but would include:
- Cost benefit analysis
- Control charts
- Design of experiments
- Statistical sampling
- Cause and effect diagrams
- Pareto diagrams
- Run charts
- Scatter diagram
- Statistical sampling
- Inspections and reviews
- Quality audits.
These are the main tools used within perform quality assurance because such audits review the project in order to evaluate which of those activities being carried out on the project need to be improved, and which of those leads the required quality standards. The objective of these audits is to improve acceptance of the product and to minimize the overall cost of quality.
This tool is used to review the quality process with the aim of ensuring that it works both efficiently and effectively.
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David spent 25 years as a senior project manager for US multinationals and now develops a wide range of project-related downloadable video training products under the Primer brand. In addition, David runs training seminars across the world, and is a prolific writer on the many topics of project management. He currently lives in Spain with his wife Jude.