Quality Planning: Scope Baseline

November 20, 2009

Quality is a dependent requirement. Quality indicates how well the deliverables defined in the scope is being delivered. If scope definition is incomplete or captured the requirements wrongly, the project/ product will be deficient in quality in the eyes of the internal (sponsor) or the external customer. The scope baseline defines the complete scope of the project as understood by both parties at the beginning of the project. That necessarily defines the quality requirements too as they are directly linked.

Importance of Scope Baseline

Scope baseline contains several documents, as we know from discussions on scope management. These include the scope statement, WBS or the work breakdown structure and the WBS dictionary. Quality needs/requirements arise out of the defined deliverables directly and so does the management plan.

So, while scope definition is the foremost requirement for all other aspects of project management plan, it is equally vital for drawing up the quality management plan. Besides, the scope definition is the basis on which quality assurance actions are carried out and it tells us what deviations are happening so that quality control actions can be undertaken that are effective and efficient. The scope statement must include project description, the main deliverables and acceptance criteria of each of those deliverables. The scope definition can contain technical issues that have an impact on quality and the planning for management of it. Acceptance criteria would define the way the customer can be satisfied so meeting these are vital. The way the acceptance criteria are to be met can have an impact on quality cost and overall project cost. Project management team has to be able to understand these nuances and try and take care of the issues to the maximum extent possible.

The WBS defines detailed project actions down to work package level and one must be able to highlight if anything is likely to affect the quality targets and plans. The deliverable, work packages and the control accounts are the definitions that are used to get the periodical performance measurements done. The WBS dictionary defines each element in the WBS in a precise manner. Thus what goes into the WBS dictionary has to be considered from all aspects of the quality planning and issues very clearly pointed out in the dictionary. The scope statement, the WBS and the WBS dictionary together has to be able to define exact needs of the project very precisely, without any ambiguity.

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