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


Project Quality Management Tips

by Project Management Process Group

1. Plan Quality Management


  • 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).
pmp 2018 project quality management tips pmbok guide 6th edition tipsographic main

Project Quality Management Tips

by Project Management Process Group

1. Plan Quality Management


  • 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.
  • pmp 2018 kit free online prep tipsographicQuality 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.

2. Manage Quality


  • Audits Vs. Inspections. Audits relate to processes. Inspections relate to deliverables and products. Moreover, audits are always tools and techniques and never inputs or outputs.
  • Change Requests. Most of the change requests resulting from Manage Quality would be procedural changes.
  • Manage Quality Vs. Quality Control. Manage quality uses audits and revolves around processes. Quality control revolves around inspections and project deliverables.
  • Quality Audits. Quality audits are best done by an independent person or a separate Manage Quality department who can comment objectively, rather than by the project management team itself.
  • Quality Management Flow. Even if the PMBOK Guide illustrates Manage Quality in between Plan Quality Management and Control Quality, actually this is the last process of Project Quality Management to be executed.

3. Control Quality


  • Control Quality Vs. Validate Scope. Even if both processes measure deliverables, Control Quality process – verification – is performed internally and the customer may accept a product that failed it, as part of validating scope. On the other hand, Validate Scope process – validation – is performed by the customer and, this time, the latter may decide not to accept a product that passed control quality.
  • Rule of Seven. Any time seven data points in a row fall on the same side of the mean on a control chart, the process is not random. Henceforth, a project manager needs to find the cause of the variation.
  • Seven Basic Quality Tools. For the PMP exam, it is paramount to master why a project manager would choose one of these tools over the others.

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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