A Quality Management Plan is an output to the project management activity of planning quality management. The activity of planning quality management relies on several inputs, some of which have been discussed in prior posts. Understanding the requirements, risks, stakeholders, and scope all contribute to planning quality. Enterprise environmental factors and organizational process assets, noted in post Agile Project Management #07 – Enterprise Environmental Factors and Organizational Process Assets, are also inputs. Seeking input from organization experts with specialized knowledge in quality assurance and quality control should be part of the early project planning. The experts can aid in forming the quality plan.
Determining the cost of quality (COQ) needs to be part of the project budget for building, testing, and maintaining the product. The COQ can be broken down to the cost of conformance and the cost of nonconformance of the product. The cost of conformance is money spent during the project to avoid failures. The cost of nonconformance is money spent during and after the project because of failures. Within the cost of conformance, there are prevention costs (costs to build a quality product) and appraisal costs (costs to assess the quality of the product). Within the cost of nonconformance, there are internal failure costs (failure found in the course of the project) and external failure costs (failures found by the customer).
What is in a Quality Management Plan? From the PMBOK®, the quality management plan can have the following components:
- Quality standards that will be used in by the project
- Quality objectives of the project
- Quality roles and responsibilities
- Project deliverables and processes subject to quality review
- Quality control and quality management activities planned for the project
- Quality tools that will be used for the project
- Major procedures relevant for the project, such as dealing with nonconformance, corrective actions procedures, and continuous improvement procedures
Effects on “being Agile”
How does the Quality Management Plan and quality management, in general, relate to agile methods? When using agile methods, there should be more opportunities to check quality during a project. Having sprints with retrospectives gives the opportunity for the team to make sure the product meets the quality standard for each sprint. Instead of checking the quality of the product near the end of a long delivery cycle, there are many opportunities to check the quality along the way and make corrections. If the quality does not meet the standard, there should be less rework to do than if many weeks or months transpired in building the product before it is checked thoroughly. Using retrospectives enables the team to reflect on what may have gone wrong (or could go better) to avoid quality issues in the coming sprints.
While constructing the quality management plan, like other plans, is still an upfront activity when using an agile method, the opportunities for executing quality processes should be more plentiful, and this should be spelled out in the quality management plan. With respect to product quality, agile methods can offer an advantage over other methods where quality processes take place later in the development cycle.
For the next post, we’ll take a look at scope management.