The creation of an actual quality management plan, quality control plan, or quality assurance plan has been a fairly rare occurrence. Most organizations have separate quality assurance staffs with their processes to follow and are often involved to some degree on at least the larger projects.
However, there are times when quality management plans are necessary and are produced specific to a particular project – especially on very large, mission critical projects or when mandated by your customer.
Carl Pritchard’s book The Project Management Communications Toolkit does a great job of outlining what a quality management plan should contain. Hopefully some of our readers will find this information beneficial as they search for information on plans that they are required to put together for specific projects.
The Importance of Quality Management Plan
The quality management plan provides guidance on how quality will be ensured on the project through design reviews, documentation, and other protocols. It gives management and the customer a clear understanding of how quality will be maintained and what documentation they can expect (addressing quality) during the life of the project.
The plan is generated by the project team and is used as both a cross-reference for other documentation and as a guide for responsibility on the quality aspects of the project. Team members refer to it to find documents (either in whole or be reference) that they need to examine regarding quality standards for their deliverables. Managers refer to it to clarify what practices are considered essential for quality performance and to affirm who is responsible for those practices. The customer may refer to the quality management plan for assurance that quality practices are in place for their deliverables (and to identify any specific practices for which they are responsible).
Much of the content in quality management plans is often reference. There may be references to performance standard guides, quality standards (like ISO 9000), and internal support documents. The quality management plan is normally limited to a single project or effort within a project and is specific in terms of outlining responsibilities and ownership.
The basic outline of a quality management plan may include the section as following:
- Project Information
- Project Scope
- Quality Policy
- Quality Approach
- Supporting Documentation
Keep in mind that in the project scope section you explain the scope of the quality plan, not the entire project, expressing how much of the project or deliverables the quality plan is expected to encompass.
The most important section in this document is the quality approach section. This section often includes extensive reference documentation that supports the quality plan, including the documents needed to validate deliverable performance. It will also outline how specific practices, such as design reviews, management reviews, customer reviews, and records management will be carried out.
Things to Consider
In developing a quality management plan, it is important to consider the customer’s quality practices. Customers with high levels of quality planning and expertise often expect similar levels of effort from their vendors and supporting organizations. Thus, prior to developing a quality management plan, it is often prudent to review the customer’s quality practices and management plans.
The depth of the quality management plan hinges largely on the quality practices and policies of the supporting organization. Some organizations with minimal emphasis on quality may generate an entire quality management plan in a one or two-page document. Other quality management plans may incorporate binder upon binder of supporting documentation and information.
Even though it may seem complicated to draft the quality management plan, don’t worry our template can help you a lot. So, download it completely free of charge.
And if you still got any questions, write them down in the comments section at the end. We are eager to see what you think.