Module 6. Quality management and it’s key concepts

Learning Outcomes

  • Assess what constitutes project quality management.
  • Analyse the 3 fundamental stages of project quality management.
  • Critically review key factors underlining the process of quality project management.

A brief introduction to project quality management

Delivering a project is a unique and often overwhelming experience because planning, managing, and controlling project activities in line with different stakeholders’ requirements and needs is not a simple task.

Quality is vital in managing projects and becomes more complex as the project complexity increases. Managing quality in a volatile environment due to political changes that affect national and organisational policies and standards in different industry sectors (i.e., marine, civil, aerospace, manufacturing, etc.) is much more difficult than in a steady environment. Complexity may arise with the presence of a diverse audience of direct and indirect stakeholders that are different in culture, background, religion, and language, and often geographically dispersed (i.e., international projects). These elements can influence or impact project activities and outcomes in different and often opposing ways.


Tips: Stakeholder definition

diagram showing stakeholder definition including individual, group or organisation and the decision, activity or outcome of the project

Project quality management is not a separate, independent procedure that occurs at the conclusion of an activity to evaluate the output quality. It also does not include acquiring costly customised systems or services that are available on the market. The quality management process begins and concludes with the project. Consequently, it is an integral aspect of all project management processes, from the moment a task is initiated in a project through to the last task or activity at the project conclusion.

Managing quality in projects means also looking at integrating organisational quality management systems (QMS), including policy and ISO standards within the 3 fundamental stages as reported below:

Quality planning – defined as the core process for developing the quality management plan which aims to identify project deliverables and documenting stakeholders’ minimum requirements and standards compliance for deliverables acceptance.

Quality assurance – assesses how effective quality planning and controls are for products or service delivery, in line with quality and safety standards. This is a continuous improvement process that reviews the original quality plan baseline against the actual quality delivered for products and processes to ensure quality is implemented within a project and to control and avoid or mitigate non-conformances.

Quality control – concerns monitoring and recording the results of project products or services to understand how well stakeholders’ requirements are met.

We will be expanding our discussion of these fundamental states in the following modules.

Suggested reading

If you want to learn more about the 3 quality processes at this point, take a look at the article ‘Project quality management: all you need to know’, by Dr Mike Clayton.

image of a computer that says click here to read the article that is hyperlinked


Figure 8 summarises the project management quality overview, with a focus on inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs for each stage of the quality plan.

Figure 8. Project quality overview map, adapted from PMBOK Guide, 7th edition, by Carmen Reaiche, Samantha Papavasiliou and Frank Anglani, licensed under CC BY (Attribution) 4.0

Project quality overview mapping diagram showing Project Quality, planning, assurance and control inputs, tools and outputs components


Organisations can use ISO 9001 (2016) to design their own systems and/or processes based on the QMS specified in this standard. However, the 3 fundamental stages of project quality planning, assurance and control described above must be met. Underlying these 3 stages,  there are 7 ISO 9001 quality management principles (QMP):

QMP 1 Customer focus. A business achieves sustained success when it gains and maintains the confidence of its customers.

QMP 2 Leadership.  An organisation’s strategies, policies, procedures, and resources will  align to meet its objectives if its purpose and direction are unified, and its employees are engaged.

QMP 3 Engagement of people. To strengthen an organisation’s capabilities to generate and deliver value, it is necessary to have competent, empowered, and engaged employees at all levels.

QMP 4 Process approach. The QMS must include procedures that are interdependent. Understanding how this system integrates, interrelates and generates value allows an organisation real optimisation of the system’s operation and performance.

QMP 5 Improvement. To sustain existing levels of performance, adapt to ongoing internal and external changes, and generate new opportunities, an organisation must continuously improve.

QMP 6 Evidence-based decision-making. It is more likely that decisions based on the study and assessment of facts and information will generate accurate quality-based outcomes.

QMP 7 Relationship management. An organisation must maintain its connections with interested parties, such as suppliers, for long-term success, particularly in the complex and disruptive environments we are exposed to today.

The purpose of quality management

The fundamental idea of project quality management is therefore to exert the above 7 QMPs to guarantee that the project meets and exceeds the expectations of all key stakeholders. To comprehend what quality means to key stakeholders, particularly the project’s customers and direct clients, the project manager and the project team must cultivate positive relationships. One of the reasons for bad project evaluations is when the project concentrates solely on satisfying an overall specified criteria for the outputs and disregards the needs and expectations of other stakeholders.

Quality must be considered on par with the project’s scope, timeline, and money. If a project client is dissatisfied with the quality of the project’s outputs, the project team will need to change or adjust the project’s scope, timeline, and budget to meet their requirements and expectations. To achieve this level of stakeholder satisfaction, it is not sufficient to fulfill the project’s scope on time and under budget; rather, the project manager must create positive working relationships, transparent communication and a line of trust with all stakeholders, and comprehend their tangible and intangible demands.

There are several advantages to reaching an outstanding project execution. To start with, client satisfaction and loyalty is commonly the result of achieving a high-quality project outcome. Customers will not only accept the project outcome without question or challenge because the high-quality project outcome is likely to surpass their requirements and expectations, but they may also return if the need arises. A delighted consumer is one who perceives higher value than initially anticipated.

Cost savings are an additional advantage. Quality practices may minimise waste, increase efficiency, and enhance suppliers, all of which contribute to the possibility that the project will cost less than anticipated. As expenses decrease, profits may increase (depending on the price arrangement in the contract upon which the project is based).

Overall, quality planning is a process that ensures all project-related activities are efficient and effective in relation to the project’s objectives and performance. Quality management in project management is establishing and adhering to rules and processes to guarantee that a project achieves the customer-defined needs it was designed to meet. As discussed in our first module, and displayed in Figure 9, quality project management must adhere to the following pillars.

Customer satisfaction. Quality is all about meeting the expectations and requirements of the customer and stakeholders and developing a product that satisfies and is suitable to their needs.

Prevention over inspection. Quality is built via planning, not inspection. Therefore, quality is attained by planning, designing, and incorporating it into a product or process prior to being inspected.

Continuous improvement. The continuous plan-do-check-act cycle is essential for quality management and process improvement. This may be accomplished through quality management improvement of systems (internal and/or external).

These pillars can also be seen to represent a cluster of all 7 QMPs.

Figure 9. Quality project management, by Carmen Reaiche, Samantha Papavasiliou and Frank Anglani, licensed under CC BY (Attribution) 4.0

Quality project management diagram showing customer satisfaction, prevention over inspection and continuous improvement.


The following case study showcases the importance of quality management.

Case study

Software quality management for small IT companies that revolves around reliability, performance, security, and maintainability

By Dr Saad Butt       

The progress that has been made in information technology has led to the widespread availability of software that is designed to aid in the management of operations and the streamlining of labour. This has been one of the results of the developments that have been achieved. As the pace of adoption quickens, there is a growing demand for high-quality software that is trustworthy, performance-secure, and easy to administrate. This is done to prevent sensitive data and information, as well as financial resources, from falling into the hands of those who are not authorised to access them. When the systems are upgraded, they perform more effectively, which reduces the likelihood that they will be compromised by hackers or subjected to other kinds of dangers. In order to steal or manipulate data, or tamper with account balances, hackers can attempt to obtain unauthorised access to the system. When the systems are upgraded, their functionality is increased, and as a result, the danger of attacks and threats is decreased. In addition to this, it lessens the dangers that are posed by harmful software and viruses that are found on computers.

The first thing a small business must do is hire staff members that have a high level of both talent and experience, in addition to being conversant with the fluid nature of software. Experienced experts are knowledgeable of the process of software development, aware of the suitable suppliers that provide quality and genuine software and, as a result of their expertise, able to assist the company in meeting its software requirements and demands. When developing high-quality software, it is absolutely necessary to keep the following design principles in mind at all times: eliminate waste, develop first-rate software, encourage the expansion of one’s knowledge base, ensure prompt delivery, demonstrate respect for others, put off making a promise, and optimise. It is the duty of the business to guarantee that it has established a software culture in its operation. The business is also obliged to provide its employees with training to assist them in gaining the necessary skills. It is vital to do routine checks on the software development process to prevent the incidence of defects that take place in clusters.

Second, automated regression testing must be performed throughout the whole of the product development process to guarantee that the end result is user-friendly, cost-effective, and efficient for each and every customer. Testing will assist with removing all of the impediments and related problems and will ensure that everything works well (Sahu and Srivastava 2019). The fact that each employee in the organisation works off of their own personal documentation is the major factor that has led to the occurrence of faults. Badly written code is a secondary cause. During the process of developing the organisation’s software, during which data is being gathered, difficult solutions, as opposed to simple ones, will need to be employed. It is necessary for the architectural framework to have as much resilience as is humanly feasible for it to be able to contribute to supporting future changes and variations, in addition to other types of software dynamics. Testing must be carried out on a consistent basis, and there needs to be a degree of variety in the approaches that are applied throughout testing. According to the pesticide paradox, using a single testing technique is inefficient since there is a larger potential of missing crucial and relevant parts of the environment in which the topic of the test is being evaluated.

In conclusion, in order to generate high-quality software, the attention must be focused on the requirements that must be met by the end users, and an explanation of the activities that must be carried out must be supplied in order to simplify the process of programming and coding. It is essential that there are no flaws in the user experience, and you should refrain from making any assumptions about it. It is vital to emphasise any conditions or attributes that need to be fulfilled to meet the criteria, as this will enable you to complete all of the requirements. If you do not highlight any circumstances or traits that need to be met, you will not be able to satisfy all of the criteria. The impact that was intended to be achieved is now realised as a result of the separation of the components and the establishment of a new customised view that adjusts to the needs (Motta et al. 2018). A rise in the total throughput of the developer is associated with an increase in the likelihood of encountering issues. Avoid doing things like having undefined language features or uninitialised variables, having function-level status variables, having complex requirements with more than five sub-conditions, directly accessing hardware addresses and devices, having implicit or duplicate switch cases, and having complex logic that is difficult to understand. These are just some of the things you should try to avoid doing.

Now let’s revise our knowledge:


Key Takeaways

  • Project managers can ensure the success of a project and boost customer satisfaction by controlling quality.
  • Project managers might raise productivity by having an effective quality plan.
  • Quality management has 2 key objectives: ensure a high-quality final result and ensure that all processes involved in the project life cycle are executed effectively.
  • Even projects that are completed under budget and on schedule are not successful if the deliverables are of low quality.
  • Collectively, the 7 QMPs can form the basis for quality performance improvement and organisational excellence.


International Organization for Standardization (2016) Quality management principles, ISO quality, Geneva Switzerland.

Motta RC, de Oliveira KM and Travassos GH (2018) ‘On challenges in engineering IoT software systems’, Proceedings of the XXXII Brazilian symposium on software engineering (42–51).

Project Management Institute (2021) A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK guide), 7th edn, Project Management Institute.

Sahu K and Srivastava RK (2019) ‘Revisiting software reliability’, Data Management, Analytics, and Innovation, 221–235.


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Risk Assessment and Quality Project Management by Carmen Reaiche, Samantha Papavasiliou and Frank Anglani is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.