Quality Management Plan

November 30, 2009
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Quality management plan is the document that outlines the way the organization’s quality policy will be implemented. This has work in conjunction with the overall project management plan, of course. Quality control, quality assurance and continuous improvement plans are the inputs to the overall project plan that must come from the quality management plan.

The plan drawn up could be formal or informal, detailed or brief depending on the nature of the project or how the organization usually does these things. The plan should be reviewed early on or frequently enough to ensure correctness of the inputs so that reduction of waste or scrap can be minimized as well as time and cost overruns are avoided.

Quality Assurance

QA is all about ensuring systematic processes that are planned so that product or project being made meets the quality needs. These systematic and planned processes are about ensuring the product or the services or any other form of the project is fit for the intended purpose. It is about the confidence of the end user about this fitness of purpose. c production processes that provide confidence in a product’s suitability for its intended purpose. According to the Merriam Webster it is about “ a program for the systematic monitoring and evaluation of the various aspects of a project, service, or facility to ensure that standards of quality are being met” Activities that ensure products (goods and/or services) satisfy customer requirements in a systematic and reliable fashion are part of QA processes. QA tries to ensure quality requirements are met but cannot guarantee a reliable product/service or facility will be produced. Two key principles characterize QA: "fit for purpose" and "right first time". Right first time ensure that mistakes are eliminated and thereby savings accrue as reworks are not required.

QA is about ensuring quality of all inputs to the process to increase the probability that a quality product will come out the output end of the process. Quality of raw materials, assemblies, components, services related to production, management as well as inspection processes. Just about anything that’ll prevent mistakes and increase the probability of quality output.

Quality Control

The Merriam Webster defines Quality control or QC as “an aggregate of activities (as design analysis and inspection for defects) designed to ensure adequate quality especially in manufactured products”. While QA processes are trying to ensure a product, service or the project is being done the right way, QC procedures try to ensure that they have actually been done right. These actions typically thus include inspections to find if it is so. Like most inspections, what needs to be measured, to what precision and at what intervals are thus the inputs required for a QC plan. If there’s any special tool or technique to be used, they ought to be specified in the plan too.

Continuous Improvement

Continuous improvement is a technique that ensures that the expected quality levels would be met eventually. Assume that we start at some level of quality, may not be the ultimate level required and keep improving the quality of the item we are creating. Even at a philosophical/intuitive level we can see that the quality level will keep getting better until it meets the customer requirement. Higher the level we start, if we have this mechanism built in, the sooner we’ll reach the target quality. It’s like the feedback/error correcting loop in a control system.

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