Themes « About PRINCE2 « References

Why is it important?

The Quality theme defines the PRINCE2 approach, which ensures that the project's products:
Meet the business expectations.
Subsequently produce the desired benefits.

The focus on products is central to the PRINCE2 approach to quality.
The approach is defined to define and implement the measures by which the project will produce products that are fit for purpose.

Terms and definitions

The definition of quality is the totality of features and characteristics of a product, which are important to satisfy to stated needs or requirements. In PRINCE2, a product can also be a person, process, service or system.

Quality management (system)
Quality management includes all activities needed to direct and control a quality strategy of an organization in order to satisfy to the quality expectations of the customer.

Many organizations have a quality management system for this. This includes an organizational structure, processes and procedures to implement quality management according to the quality strategy of the organization. PRINCE2 may be part of it when it is accepted as the standard for project management. The customer and the supplier can each have their own quality management system. If this is the case, choices must be made for every project situation.

Quality assurance
Quality assurance ensures the establishment and maintenance of a quality management system and monitors the correct usage. The quality assurance function is independent and assures the quality of a number of projects.

What is the PRINCE2 approach?

The specific approach to quality in PRINCE2 is the focus on products, which already starts at the outset of the project.
Identify all the project's products
Define all these products in Product Descriptions
Implement and track the quality methods applied by the project

Identifying and defining products is covered by quality planning, implementing and tracking quality methods in quality control en quality assurance.

Figure 6.1 The quality audit trail

Quality planning
Customer's quality expectations are defined and agreed early in the Starting up a Project process. The requirements for the project's outcome are recorded in (measurable and prioritized) acceptance criteria. Both are documented in the Project Product Description. These expectations, the chosen project approach and the existing quality management systems are used in the Initiating a Project to create the Quality Management Strategy. The Quality Management Strategy describes how the project will realise the quality requirements, how and who is responsible. At this moment the Quality Register is also created.

At the end of each stage a Stage Plan is produces for the next stage. This also includes Product Descriptions of the products to be delivered, with the belonging quality requirements. This means, before the start of every stage, it must be known what the expected results will be (what products will be delivered), when results are acceptable (quality criteria and quality tolerance), how results will be checked (quality method) and who is responsible (quality responsibilities).

Quality control
Quality control contains checking if delivered products meet the specified requirements, record the results of these checks and gaining acceptance of the final product.

The actual quality control can take place by means of the following methods:
In-process methods, where quality can be built into the products as they are developed.
Appraisal methods, where products are assessed on completeness and fitness for purpose.
There are two types of quality inspections: objective (a clear yes or no as result) and subjective (judgement or opinion as a result). An example of this last type is the quality review technique.

The quality actions and results are recorded in quality records. These reports are summarised in the Quality Register, with references to the detailed documentation of each quality action.
During the project end at project closure these quality records are a valuable source of information for analysis in accordance with the PRINCE2 principle that projects must learn from experience.

While quality records provide evidence that each product has met its requirements from the Product Description, it is good practice to obtain a record that the product has been approved (approval records). PRINCE2 does not specify the format or composition of these approval records as these will depend on the level of formality required for each project (for example a signatire, e-mail, letter or certificate). PRINCE2 uses the term ‘acceptance’ to describe the ultimate approval of the project's product.

Quality review technique
The quality review is a quality control technique recommended by PRINCE2, which complements the use of Product Descriptions. Summarised, the technique implies that the product is reviewed and compared to the specifications and checked if it fits for purpose. It is a technique that enables a structured review of quality criteria and which confirms that a product is complete and ready for approval.

The following roles are identified in the review team of the quality review:
Chair: is responsible for the overall conduct of the review.
Presenter: represents the producer(s) of the product, distributes the product for review and ccoordinates the actions after the review (when necessary).
Reviewer: reviews the product, submits questions and confirms corrections and/or improvements.
Administrator: provides administrative support for the chair and records results and actions.

The quality review takes place in three steps: review preparation, review meeting agenda and review follow-up.

The quality review can result in the following outcomes:
Complete: the product shows no errors and fits for purpose.
Conditionally complete: the product is fit for purpose subject to the actions.
Incomplete: the product requires a new quality review.

The formal approval of a product is not always the outcome of a quality review. Products that have been signed off as complete may still have to be submitted to a separate authority for approval.

What are the responsibilities?

Corporate or programme management
Provide details of the corporate or programme quality management system
Provide quality assurance
Confirm the acceptance of the project product
Senior User
Provide customer's quality expectations and acceptance criteria
Approve the Product Descriptions for key user products
Provide resources to undertake user quality activities and product approval
Provide acceptance of the project product
Senior Supplier
Approve the Project Product Description (when necessary)
Approve the quality methods, techniques and tools used during product development
Provide resources to undertake supplier quality activities
Approve Product Descriptions for key specialist products
Project Manager
Document the customer's quality expectations and acceptance criteria
Prepare the Project Product Description (with users)
Prepare and maintain Product Descriptions
Ensure that Team Managers implement quality controls as agreed in Product Descriptions and Work Packages
Team Manager
Produce products as specified in Product Descriptions
Manage quality records for the products concerned
Assemble quality records
Advise the Project Manager of product quality status
Project Assurance
Advise the Project Manager on suitable reviewers/approvers
Assure the Project Board on the implementation of the Quality Management Strategy
Project Support
Provide administrative support for quality controls
Maintain the Quality Register and quality records
Assist Team Managers and team members during the application of quality processes of the project

Used sources

Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2, 2009 edition