PMP Certification: Project Quality Management Terms


Project Quality Management is the fifth knowledge area of project management.

It assures that project deliverables meet their identified requirements and project management processes are properly performed.

Based on chapter 8 of PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition, here you will find:

  • project management graphic of Project Quality Management, a quick reference guide to its key terms
  • Project Quality Management key terms — by Project Quality Management processes

Read on!

Project Quality Management Terms

by Project Management Process Group

1. Plan Quality Management

  • Benchmarking. A technique that looks at other projects to get ideas for improvement on the current project and to provide some reference points to measure quality performance.
  • Conformance to Requirements. Ensure 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. It includes all money spent to ensure quality, broken down into cost of conformance (prevention costs and appraisal costs) and the cost of non-conformance (internal failure costs and 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. The product or service must satisfy real needs.
  • 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 Management Plan. A subsidiary of the project management plan that describes how the quality requirements will be met.
  • Quality Metrics. Project or product attributes, how they will be measured, and allowable variations (i.e. time performance.).
  • 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.
  • 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
    • check sheets
    • 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. Planning to test only parts of the whole population and inspecting them to determine whether they fall 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.

2. Perform Quality Assurance

  • Just-In-Time. An inventory control system in which suppliers provide materials just before they are required. It forces an organization to maintain a high level of quality, since there is no excess inventory on hand in the warehouse to depend on when poor quality is produced.
  • Kaizen. A Japanese philosophy that focuses on what we can loosely translate as ‘continuous improvement’ of processes.
  • Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle. An iterative cycle to describe continuous planning and checking processes.
  • Process Analysis. It takes the steps in the process improvement plan and executes them in order to find ways to improve process effectiveness and efficiency.
  • Quality Audits. An independent process which purpose is to check whether the defined project processes are in place and are being carried out as per the quality management plan. It can result in corrective actions and can also be used to share best practices across the organization.

3. Control Quality

  • Attribute Sampling. Pass-fail testing; notably, a result meets the requirement or doesn’t.
  • Control Limits. Area of variation delimited by three standard deviations either side of the expected mean. It can exist when plotting the actual data that has been charted on a control chart – set by the process.
  • Inspection. A tool used to search for bugs in requirements and products by physically looking at, measuring, or testing results.
  • Quality Control Measurements. The physical representations of the measurements taken.
  • Tolerance. The range of acceptable results – set by the customer.
  • Validated Changes. Once the project management team finds and removes defects in the deliverables, it validates that all approved change requests have been implemented correctly.
  • Variable Sampling. The degree to which a result meets a requirement along a continuous scale.
  • Verified Deliverables. Any single deliverable must meet the expected quality requirements and standards, as verified during the process of inspection.


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