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Quality On Purpose

April 14, 2010

“Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives.” William A. Foster

What is quality?  PMBOK* defines quality as “the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements.”  The American Society for Quality (ASQ) defines quality as follows:

A subjective term for which each person or sector has its own definition. In technical usage, quality can have two meanings: 1. the characteristics of a product or service that bear on its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs; 2. a product or service free of deficiencies. (Source:

Joseph Juran, defines quality as “fitness for use;”  while Philip Crosby, says quality is “conformance to requirements.”

Project Quality Management

Quality is one of the nine Project Management knowledge areas.   The project quality plan is developed to assure the quality of the project outputs.  It addressses how quality will be assured and controlled throughout the project lifecycle.

PMBOK* (2008) defines Quality Assurance  as the “process of auditing the quality requirements and results from quality measurements to ensure appropriate quality standards and operational definitions are used”.

Quality Control, as defined by PMBOK (2008) is the “process of monitoring and recording results of executing the quality activities to assess performance and recommend necessary changes”.  Quality control activities are performed throughout the project.

A sound quality process uses both prevention and inspection to insure quality products, services and outputs.

How does your organization and project address quality?  What can you do to improve the quality process in your organization and project?


American Society for Quality

Project Quality Management

Project Quality Planning

Project Management Institute (2008). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute, Inc.

Quality Control vs. Quality Assurance

The Purpose of a Quality Management Plan

* “PMI”, “PMBOK”, “CAPM” and “PMP” are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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