Quality Metrics & Quality Checklist

December 1, 2009
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Quality metrics and checklists are two useful tools that can be used to ensure that the product, process or the project quality is being met. Metric provide you with some hard numbers that are related to quality being achieved. Quality control will need to carry out periodical inspections, measure these metrics and report if these are being met.

Checklists on the other hand are a list of specified steps that need to be carried out to ensure the quality levels of the output. Quality management plan, through quality assurance/control processes will have to make sure the checklists are followed religiously.

Quality Metrics

A well known saying goes “we best manage what we can measure”. In this quest for measurements that give you a picture of the quality is what is of interest to us. A quality management plan has to define the measures that can be used to determine if quality targets are being met. A metric is a verifiable measure in quantitative or qualitative terms. A metric is then a verifiable measure. It lets you capture performance as to how well the standards of how something should be made. Such measurements also provide opportunity for comparison.

It is a measurement about an attribute of the product, project or a process. The number, in some units, associated with the measurement gives you a means of determining if the attribute is within expected limits. There will also be a tolerance value associated with such measurements to indicate the acceptable limits of variation of that measurement. Quality control inspections would measure such values and determine if the quality levels are within control.

For example, one may set a quality objective of staying within a 10% tolerance of cost budget. Related metrics could be defined as the cost of deliverables and their variance from the target values. Some quality metric defined for a project could be percentage of specified test coverage, defect frequency, failure rate, reliability and availability numbers and so on. These could even be items like on-time performance of the project.

Quality Checklist

A checklist is a list of steps to be carried out for an activity. The list is made as comprehensive as possible so that this becomes the tool to verify that all the required steps for a quality item is carried out without missing any one of them. The checklist will obviously be specific to the item under consideration. The checklist to be created for an item would clearly depend on the complexity of creating the same as also organizational practices. One may have evolved a standardized set of activities depending on the experience of the organization with the product, process or the project.

Standardized checklists can provide consistent performance of the process to produce something. Depending on the domain standardized checklists may even be available from well known sources. Some industrial organizations, for example can have such a checklist available for its members in an effort to promote quality of the generic product that all members produce. Quality control processes would typically use the checklists to ensure quality is being met at that specific quality check point.

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2 Responses to Quality Metrics & Quality Checklist

  1. Hloniphile Dlamini on March 4, 2014 at 10:19 am

    new in the project management field want to know key areas for a project manager to note when assigned a project

    • Puneet Kuthiala on June 5, 2014 at 11:22 am

      Thanks for dropping by.
      You may contact me on LinkedIn and we can interact. I am a coach in my free time.
      Best Regards
      Puneet

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