A project quality plan can improve your project management results by helping you complete the project on time, within budget and with the required functionality. The plan guides you in defining project goals, assigning the necessary resources, specifying quality standards, and identifying problems. Once you know how to implement the main elements of a project quality plan, you can manage the project to get the results you want.


The first element of a project quality plan defines the objectives of the project. Objectives are specific and measurable, and include targets for the total cost and the completion date. The plan specifies the purpose of the project in terms of the functions the users want. Objectives may include milestones for project progress when the project can be completed in clearly defined stages. The aim of this element of the project plan is to provide clear direction and a basis for measuring progress. You can use the objectives to guide your team in its work.


Once you have defined the objectives of the project, you can determine the standards that best apply to the work to be done. ISO 9000 is a group of quality standards that govern activities from manufacturing through design to project management and are flexible enough to be applied to a wide variety of projects. Government or military standards are required for some types of work. Many industries have their own sets of standards. You have to choose standards that satisfy user requirements and whose application is most beneficial to the project.


Key elements of a project quality plan are controls that let you ensure the standards are being met and work is progressing toward reaching your objectives. Quality-control systems specify an organizational structure that allows those responsible for quality to check the work being carried out at all levels. A project quality manager can verify that specified levels of quality are being met and can request documentation that demonstrates compliance with project targets. The project quality manager reports directly to the project manager to ensure that problems are addressed at the highest organizational level of the project.


A system of verification of achieved milestones and specified standards is the element that proves you met the project quality targets. Because the project objectives are specific and measurable, a verification gives you a clear indication of project management performance. In addition to internal verification of targets, checking external milestones, such as the issuing of permits, granting of operating licenses and the approval by authorities of key procedures often represent an effective confirmation of internal verification of progress. The final verification of project costs, completion date and functionality form the basis for handing the project over to its users.