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Quality management plans - An essential guide: Part 2

Excellence does not happen by accident. To achieve and maintain high standards quality management is imperative. Organising a quality management plan (QMP) helps manage the lifecycle of a project, designating tasks to team members, and ensuring deliverables and processes are monitored for quality review and measurement, maintaining customer satisfaction and stakeholder expectations. Purveying all of these processes will increase buying power and customer loyalty, in turn, endorsing your reputation. This is our step by step guide to building a robust QMP.

Communication is key

The critical foundation of any plan is built on good communication. Establishing a good relationship with your customer will facilitate organic conversations, clarifying what they expect from a project. This allows the customer to feel in control of their investment and appreciated. In addition to the customer, stakeholders also need to be kept up to speed with the companies operations and quality control.

Refine, refine, refine

Once your team feels confident with the standards expected from all parties; policies and procedures, need to be strategised to monitor and verify the processes used to manage and create the deliverables. Establishing specific common objectives, a concise road map of how to achieve customer satisfaction, process quality standards and achieve final product specifications should be refined.

Delegate and designate

Once this road map has been communicated across the board, ensuring all colleagues are comfortable and clear on what is expected from them, project deliverables and processes should be clearly outlined. Quality control activities need to be implemented with frequency to identify any substandard results which may occur along the way. Quality assurance should also be prioritised at this point of the QMP. Quality assurance provides both customers and team members with the on-going confidence that a product or service will fulfil quality expectations.

Various activities and techniques can be used to maintain and monitor quality assurance. In The Quality Audit: A Management Evaluation Tool (McGraw-Hill, 1988), author Charles Mill wrote about auditing and inspection stating "The auditor may use inspection techniques as an evaluation tool, but the audit should not be involved in carrying out any verification activities leading to the actual acceptance or rejection of a product or service. An audit should be involved with the evaluation of the process and controls covering the production and verification activities."

Testing, testing

To detect any issues and improve functionality and usability, thoroughly testing each stage of the development cycle of a project is essential. Testing will assure the quality of your result, covering various conditions and scenarios. The testing methodology should combine automated tests and manual testing, with specific team members designated to oversee this testing.

Working to clearly defined quality objectives will allow developers, testers, and designers to understand their expectations better. In turn, this will help lay the foundations for a better environment where employees take responsibility for the quality, giving them the freedom to make adjustments to projects and help directly shape the quality of a product or service.

Upscale your tools

Once your quality control and assurance processes have been strategised, ensure you consistently practise these processes so each project can be fairly evaluated and compared. There are multiple apps to help with quality control and assurance; Qwualio, Intellect and Quality management software which assist with auditing, testing along with various other features.

Using ISO 9001 also promotes consistent, good-quality products and services. A standard of criteria established to improve the consistency and quality of projects, ISO 9001 is based on several quality management principles, including strong customer focus, the motivation and implication of top management along with the process approach and continual improvement.

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