by Bruce Beer, PMP:

In Part 1, we introduced the difficulty of trying to create a quality plan on complex projects without historicals. Here, we complete the series by discussing the objectives and components of a quality plan.

What is the overall objective of a Quality Plan? I would say it is a plan of how we intend to meet the project quality objectives (quality plan), identify variances (quality control), and act on those variances (quality assurance) to implement any corrective measures required.  So the plan would normally have a “general” section that describes the quality methodology, the company’s overview on quality, i.e. their quality policy, maybe quality requirements in the specific marketplace in which the project will operate, and possibly how to ensure quality during subsequent operation, if applicable.

Some of the basic elements might include quality metrics, success criteria, quality checklists, and tools to be used across the organization. For example, if you are creating the quality plan for a program, you may want to specify what tools should be used, such as MS Office version xxxx. We have probably all experienced the frustration of having a Word document sent to us from someone who is using a later version – we can’t read it! Similarly, using MS Project across a program should have everyone using the same release to ensure data can be communicated and read by all on the program. Where you have many servers around the globe, it might be quite a good idea to have them all on the same OS, with the same version or release number, and patch level etc.

In conclusion, I would say that a quality plan should be considered for every project. The size and complexity of the plan would depend on the size and complexity of the project. But in minimal terms it should identify the deliverables to be produced, metrics to be measured for each deliverable, the overall quality policy, the tools to be used, and how to report and handle variances. This should be a good baseline for attaining the best quality on your project.

What have you included in your quality plan? Were you able to start from templates or historical plans, or did you have to start from scratch?