Making sure that work is completed to a high standard can be tricky.
Especially when you’re managing a project with different teams and individuals all working on various elements and (even more fun) from different time zones.
So how can you make sure everything is completed on time and to the standard it needs to be?
Enter the project quality plan — one of our favorite “named after what it does” plans.
So how does it work? And how do you create one and put it into practice?
Well read on!
This article will outline what a project quality plan is, how to make one in 4 simple steps, and how work management software can help with the process.
Let’s get rolling.
What is a project quality plan?
A project quality plan is a document that outlines how you’re going to make sure the quality of your work is up to standard. Project quality planning is the process of setting quality standards throughout a project. Your quality management plan is where you immortalize those standards.
Project quality planning is about more than just ensuring that your quality is “good”.
Project quality planning ensures that the quality of your work can be measured easily and that everything meets the expectations of stakeholders (and anyone else who cares about quality at your business).
After all, two people’s definitions of “good” can be wildly different.
Quality planning isn’t just a one-and-done task either. It’s a continuous process that applies not only to the end result, but also to the procedures that take place along the way.
Why is project quality planning important?
Quality is completely subjective.
For instance, art. Some people look at this piece by Piet Mondrian and say “Oh yes! That is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen!”
Whereas others look at it and say, “Oh no! That poor man spilled his paints.”
Some people love modern art, some people hate it. Their definition of what’s good and what’s bad is specific to them.
That’s why a quality management plan is so important.Without clarity on what the quality standards are, how do you know that the work meets client requirements?
How to make a project quality plan in 4 simple steps
There’s no one size fits all when it comes to making a project quality plan. But there are certain elements that you’ll need to be aware of, no matter what project you’re working on or what your end goal is.
Here are our 4 simple steps to give you a solid start:
#1: Gather quality data and relevant information
Data is the foundation for modern business growth. It provides a “no BS” framework on which you can build your marketing, sales, and support campaigns.
Without evidence and facts guiding your quality standards, you have no benchmark. You’re taking a stab in the dark when you say something is good or bad.
So what sort of data and information should you collect?
- Who is the project for?
- Does the customer have expectations about the outcome and other deliverables?
- Has the customer given feedback on previous projects?
- Has similar work been done in the past?
- Are there any areas of concern you need to address?
- What resources do you have available?
- Are there any regulations or externally set quality metrics you need to meet?
These are just some of the questions to consider (and get answers to).
Depending on the project you’re working on, you might have other areas or questions that you need to ask to get the information you need and avoid poor quality.
#2: Review data and set your quality measurements
Once you have the data to hand, it’s time to start reviewing what you’ve got and dig out your quality requirements.
According to a survey by Deloitte, 18% of businesses use spreadsheets alongside basic reporting tools to review their data.
Using spreadsheets isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but we wouldn’t say it’s ideal if you want to quickly and efficiently view what’s necessary.
If you want something more interactive and engaging, displaying the information in a dashboard, like the one below, is a good way to go:
With a work management platform, you can create reports and visualizations as well as host notes, comments, and feedback from previous work.
And, if you just love spreadsheets, you can easily upload them directly into the dashboard:
You can store all the information in the same place and display all the data you want to see side-by-side.
Pretty useful, right?
All of this makes it much more efficient for you when it comes to analyzing the data. You can easily spot trends in performance, review standards, and start to compile the quality guidelines for the project.
#3. Create your project quality plan
With the quality metrics sussed out, it’s time to put them into your project quality management plan.
Your plan should outline the following (at a minimum):
- What are you measuring (i.e., number of bugs and errors, material thickness)?
- What’s the passing grade?
- How, when, and by whom is quality tested (at the end of each Sprint, at the end of the project)?
- What’s the process if something fails its quality test?
The most efficient way to do that? We’d suggest using work management software, especially if you’ve already used it to analyze your data. That way the entire process is streamlined and there are no information or functional silos.
Once your data and requirements are in place, you can assign quality checks to certain people, schedule them and monitor their progress all in one place.
How you allocate the quality assurance checks will vary depending on the tasks being completed, and who’s involved in the project.
If a marketing assistant is due to run an email campaign, a marketing manager would be the perfect person to quality check their project deliverables.
If a sales assistant is delivering a new sales script in a demo, your sales manager would be responsible for reviewing their project quality (recordings can be uploaded to the project management tool).
#4. Analyze quality performance
Once the project is underway, your project quality plan should be monitored regularly to keep it current and ensure your quality expectations are being met.
If you use work management software, people will automatically receive prompts to quality check certain tasks in the plan. So you won’t have to worry about manually checking in on tasks all the time.
Using a project tracker is a great way to keep on top of tasks in the quality plan. And depending on what software you use, you can customize your plan to automatically notify your project team when they need to quality check a task:
How can project management software help with project quality planning?
According to PwC, 32% of customers say they would walk away from an organization after just one bad experience. That’s almost a third of customers gone because of one mistake. Yikes…
Providing customers with quality service and products can be the difference between them staying for the long haul, or bouncing to a competitor.
So how can project management software help?
We’ve already alluded to it, but it’s all about putting your quality targets, acceptance criteria, and quality reviews in one place — making it all accessible and easily updated.
It’s why 57% of businesses say that using project management software has a positive impact on the quality of their final product.
It’s not just the software itself, but a combination of the right software in the right hands. The future of efficient project management lies in using new technology with the right people:
“Organizations need to couple all that shiny new tech with the right people, with the right skills working on the right projects. […] That means creating a culture that supports project management while embracing the twists and turns of technology.” – Pulse of the Profession 2019
Source: PMI’s “The Future of Work: Leading the Way With PMTQ”
With trained team members, a project quality plan in a larger system of project management, can show exactly what’s happening, when it’s happening, and how well it’s being done.
You can also provide instant feedback on tasks and engage in real-time communication with people working on the project — another useful way to streamline the process of quality management:
There you have it: how to make a project quality plan in 4 steps. Hopefully, you’ll be able to put it into good practice on your next project.
Now that you’ve got a better understanding of the process, maybe it’s time to think about whether work management software could be the right way to go…
At monday.com, we host hundreds of visual and customizable management templates with dozens of integrations. You can add your action items, reorder based on priority, and create a tailored quality control plan to fit your needs.
Still need help creating your project quality plan? Check out our project management plan template to get started!