PMP Certification: Plan Quality Management (based on PMBOK® Guide, 6th Edition)


  • WHAT Plan Quality Management Is. Plan Quality Management implies gathering all of the information available to a project manager at the beginning of the project and determining how quality will be measured and defects prevented.
  • WHY Plan Quality Management Is Important. The quality management plan, main output of the Plan Quality Management process, is a key tool for preventing defects on the project and reducing the cost of quality. Therefore, quality is planned from the start of the project – not merely inspected.
  • WHEN Plan Quality Management Is Executed. A project manager starts the Plan Quality Management process at the beginning of the planning phase of the project, in conjunction with other Planning processes.
  • HOW Plan Quality Management Operates.

Project Quality Management (by Process Groups) — PMBOK® Guide, 6th Edition Update

Plan Quality Management

Manage Quality

Control Quality

Click here for a detailed analysis of each project management process group and knowledge area.

pmp 2018 plan quality management pmbok guide 6th edition tipsographic main

Plan Quality Management 101

What Does Plan Quality Management Involve and When Do You Perform It in a Project Life Cycle?


  • WHAT Plan Quality Management Is. Plan Quality Management implies gathering all of the information available to a project manager at the beginning of the project and determining how quality will be measured and defects prevented.
  • WHY Plan Quality Management Is Important. The quality management plan, main output of the Plan Quality Management process, is a key tool for preventing defects on the project and reducing the cost of quality. Therefore, quality is planned from the start of the project – not merely inspected.
  • WHEN Plan Quality Management Is Executed. A project manager starts the Plan Quality Management process at the beginning of the planning phase of the project, in conjunction with other Planning processes.
  • HOW Plan Quality Management Operates.
InputsTools and techniquesOutputs
  1. Project charter
  2. Project management plan
    • Requirements management plan
    • Risk management plan
    • Stakeholder engagement plan
    • Scope baseline
  3. Project documents
    • Assumption log
    • Requirements documentation
    • Requirements traceability matrix
    • Risk register
    • Stakeholder register
  4. Enterprise environmental factors
  5. Organizational process assets
  1. Expert judgment
  2. Data gathering
    • Benchmarking
    • Brainstorming
    • Interviews
  3. Data analysis
    • Cost-benefit analysis
    • Cost of quality
  4. Decision making
    • Multicriteria decision analysis
  5. Data representation
    • Flowcharts
    • Logical data model
    • Matrix diagrams
    • Mind mapping
  6. Test and inspection planning
  7. Meetings
  1. Quality management plan
  2. Quality metrics
  3. Project management plan updates
    • Risk management plan
    • Scope baseline
  4. Project documents updates
    • Lessons learned register
    • Requirements traceability matrix
    • Risk register
    • Stakeholder register

Source: PMBOK® Guide, 6th ed., Chapter 8, section 8.1, p. 277.

Plan Quality Management Key Terms

What Are the Key Terms to Fully Understand the Process of Planning Quality Management?


  • Benchmarking. A technique for comparing a project, or parts of a project, against other projects to infer improvements and to provide some reference points to measure quality performance.
  • Conformance to Requirements. Ensuring a project produces what it said it would produce.
  • Continuous Improvement. A commitment to continuous quality improvement throughout the life of the project, in relation to both process and product.
  • Cost of Quality. The cost of ensuring quality, broken down into cost of conformance (prevention costs plus appraisal costs) and cost of non-conformance (internal failure costs plus external failure costs).
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis. A tool for analyzing the expected costs to be incurred against the expected benefits to be gained. The benefits should outweigh costs by at least 50%.
  • Customer Satisfaction. A state of fulfillment in which the needs of a customer are met or exceeded for the customer’s expected experiences, as assessed by the customer at the moment of evaluation.
  • Design of Experiments. A technique that uses experimentation to determine statistically what variable will improve quality.
  • Fitness for Use. A product or service that must satisfy real needs, as it was intended.
  • Grade. A category for products or services that are of the same type but have differing technical characteristics. Low quality is usually not an acceptable condition; however, low grade might be.
  • Process Improvement Plan. A subsidiary of the project management plan that describes how project management and product development processes will be analyzed and enhanced.
  • Quality. The degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements. The closer the defined set of observed characteristics to the predefined set of requirements, the higher the level of quality.
  • Quality Management Plan. A subsidiary of the project management plan that describes how the quality requirements will be met.
  • pmp 2018 kit free online preparation tipsographicQuality Metrics. Project or product attributes, how they will be measured, and allowable variations (i.e., time performance.).
  • Seven Basic Quality Tools. Seven charts and diagrams used to graphically measure, assess, and determine causes of quality issues. They include the following:
    • cause and effect diagram
    • flowchart
    • checksheets
    • Pareto diagrams
    • histograms
    • control charts
    • scatter diagrams.
  • Six Sigma. A measurement-based strategy focused upon reducing quality defects to as close to zero as possible (no more than 3.4 defects per million opportunities).
  • Statistical Sampling. A tool for testing only a small part of a whole population and inspecting this subset to determine whether it falls within acceptable variances.
  • Total Quality Management (TQM). A theory stating that everybody within an organization has the responsibility to continuously improve the quality of products and processes.

Plan Quality Management Tips

What Are the Best Tips to Answer Correctly the PMP Certification Exam Questions on Plan Quality Management Process?


  • Cause and Effect Diagram. On the PMP exam, it may be referred to as the cause and effect, Ishikawa, or fishbone diagram.
  • Cost of Poor Quality. On the PMP exam, it is used as synonyms for cost of quality.
  • Cost of Testing Vs. Cost of Quality. The cost of quality is the cost of all of a project manager’s quality activities, not limited to the cost of testing (appraisal cost).
  • Gold Plating. It occurs when there is an opportunity to deliver more than the customer expects (e.g., extra scope or better performance), without formal documentation. Gold plating a project is always a bad idea, as delivering better quality or grade uses time and resources usually at additional cost and the impact is sometimes not immediately known.
  • Precision Vs. Accuracy. Precision refers to how tightly clustered a group of results is. A group of results that are tightly clustered demonstrates a high degree of precision. Accuracy refers to how close to the expected results the observed data points are.
  • Prevention Vs. Inspection. Preventing a mistake is cheaper than correcting a mistake, in terms of time, money, and reputation.
  • Product Quality Vs. Project Quality. Product quality is determined by the nature of the product (e.g., different requirements for estate development and software development). Project quality is driven by the conformance to the project requirements (e.g., project on budget or not).
  • Product Satisfaction Vs. Project Satisfaction. Product satisfaction focuses on customer satisfaction. Project satisfaction is a broader concept that includes also the expectations of the project team, the sponsor, vendors, regulatory entities, and other project-specific stakeholders.
  • Quality Policy. Part of the organizational process assets input, a guideline published by executive management that describes what quality policies should be adopted for projects the company undertakes. If a quality policy does not exist, it is up to the project management team to create one for the project and to ensure that all key project stakeholders are aware of and have received copies of it.
  • SIPOC (Suppliers, Inputs, Process, Outputs, and Customers). A diagram used in the Six Sigma methodology to summarize the flow of goods and information between suppliers and customers in table form.

Click here for a detailed analysis of each project management process group and knowledge area.

SOURCES: Project Management Institute (2017). A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide). 6th ed. Newtown Square: Project Management Institute.

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