PMP Certification Study Notes 8 – Project Quality Management

PMP Quality Management

UPDATED for the new PMP Exam in 2023. Happy learning!

Introduction: This part of the PMP exam study notes (already updated/will be updated for new PMP Exam in 2023) is based on Section 8 of new PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition. The study notes have been rewritten to reflect the latest changes in the PMBOK® Guide for the new PMP Exam. More information on my PMP certification exam preparation can be found at my PMP exam and certification journey (with free PMP study resources and tips) here.

Please note that the study notes below is intended to include only the most important or esaily confused PMP concepts. It is by no means complete in the sense that one can rely on it to be fully prepared for the PMP Exam. Aspirants are advised to make use of this piece of study notes for revision purposes. Wish you PMP success!

Article Highlights

Project Quality Management

  • Quality: the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements, decrease rework/costs, increase productivity/stakeholder satisfaction
  • everyone in the organization is responsible for the quality (project team for destined parts while PM for project quality), the project manager is ultimately responsible for the project quality
  • The project manager is required to perform continuous improvement activities (quality assurance), verify quality before completion of deliverables (control quality)
  • prevention over inspection
  • continuous improvement to ensure quality (quality assurance) — Quality Management processes are so focused on reviewing EVERY deliverable – not just the final product, but all of the components, designs and specifications too.
  • some costs of quality will be borne by the organization (organization quality policy, e.g. quality audit, ISO accreditation)
  • Quality Management Concepts
    • Crosby Zero Defects: identify processes to remove defects, quality is built in to the processes
    • Juran Fitness for Use: does the product/service meet customer’s need? i) Grade, ii) Quality conformance, iii) Reliability/maintainability, iv) Safety, v) Actual Use
    • W. Edwards Deming: 85% of quality problem is managers’  responsibility, develop “System of Profound Knowledge” [system = components working together to achieve an aim] i) Appreciation for system, ii) Knowledge about variation (special cause vs common cause) , iii) Theory of Knowledge (built up by prediction/observation/adjustment) , iv) Psychology
    • Six Sigma: achieve 3.4/1 mil defect level (99.999%) using DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyze, Implement, Control) or [Design for Six Sigma] DMADV (Define, Measure, Analyze, Design, Validate) approach, refine the process to get rid of human error and outside influences with precise measurements, variations are random in nature
    • Just In Time: eliminate build up of inventory
    • Total Quality Management (TQM): ISO 8402 all members to center on quality to drive customer satisfaction , refine the process of producing the product
    • Kaizen改善: implement consistent and incremental improvement, to reduce costs, cycle time, drive customer satisfaction using PDCA (Plan Do Check Act)
    • The Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle is a way of making small improvements and testing their impact before you make a change to the process as a whole. It comes from W. Edwards Deming’s work in process improvement, which popularized the cycle that was originally invented by Walter Shewhart in the 1930s.
    • Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI): improve overall software quality (design, development and deployment)
    • ISO9000: ensures the defined processes are performed in accordance to the plan
  • Important Terms:

Plan Quality Management

  • Inputs: Project Charter, Project Management Plan, Project Documents (assumption log, requirements traceability matrix, risk register, stakeholder register), EEF, OPA
  • Tools & Techniques: Expert Judgement, Data Gathering, Data Analysis, Decision Making, Data Representation, Test and Inspection Planning, Meetings
  • Outputs: Quality Management Plan, Quality Metrics, Project Management Plan Updates, Project Documents Updates

  • quality policy (either organizational or just for the project), methods and procedures to meet the objectives and satisfy customer’s needs
    • including identifying the quality requirements and document how to achieve
    • The goal is to refine the process so that human errors and outside influences no longer exist, and any remaining variations are completely random
  • Quality Metrics: function points, MTBF (mean time between failure), MTTR (mean time to repair)
  • Data Gathering Tools:
    • Benchmarking: compare to past activities/standard/competition
    • Brainstorming
    • Interviews
  • Data Analysis tools:
    • Cost-benefit Analysis: cost of implementing quality requirements against benefits
    • Cost of Quality:
      • Cost of Quality is the total cost of quality efforts throughout the product’s lifecycle
      • cost of conformance + cost of non-conformance: cost of conformance (prevention cost, appraisal cost) vs cost of non-conformance (failure cost [internal/external])
      • lowest quality cost is prevention, highest quality cost (poor quality) is rework and defect repair (as high as 5000 times the cost for carrying out unit testing), lost reputation and sales, failure cost may be internal/external (found by customer)
      • Warranty claims are external cost of quality — internal/external is reference to the project (not the organization)
    • Cause-and-effect / Ishikawa / Fishbone Diagram: for identifying the cause
    • Flowchart: (e.g. SIPOC diagram) for identifying failing process steps and process improvement opportunities
    • Check Sheets (tally sheets): collecting data/documenting steps for defeat analysis
    • Histograms: does not consider the influence of time on the variation that exits within a distribution
    • Pareto Chart: based on 80/20 principle, a prioritization tool to identify critical issues in descending order of frequency, sort of a histogram
    • Statistical Process Control (SPC) Chart: determine if a process is stable/predictable using statistical sampling (assessed by accuracy[conformance] and precision[standard deviation]), identity the internally computed control limits (UCL/LCL) and specification limits (USL/LSL) by the customer/PM
    • run chart is similar to control chart, but without the control
      • usually +-3sigma i.e. a range of 6 sigma
      • a form of time series
      • if a process is within control limit but beyond specification limit, the process is experiencing common cause variation (random) that cannot be corrected by the system, management help is needed (special cause can be tackled but NOT common cause)
    • Stability Analysis / Zone Test: rule of seven (7 consecutive on either side of the mean = out of control), rule of six (six consecutive with a trend = out of control), rule of ten (10 as a saw-tooth pattern around the mean), rule of one (1 point beyond control limit) [signal in the noise]
    • Scatter Diagram: for trending, a form of regression analysis
  • Data Representation tools:
    • Flowcharts
    • Logical data model
    • Matrix Diagrams: House of Quality (HOQ) used in Quality Function Deployment (QFD) (method to transform user demands [VOC]  into design quality)
    • Mind mapping
  • Test and Inspection Planning
    • used to determine how to test or inspect the product, deliverable, or service to meet the stakeholders’ needs and expectations
      • alpha/beta releases
      • inspections
      • field tests
  • Other quality tools:
    • Design of Experiments (DOE): change several factors at a time for each experiment, to determine testing approaches and their impact on cost of quality
    • Loss Function: a financial measure of the user’s dissatisfaction with product performance
    • Kano Model: differentiate features as satisfy, delight or dissatisfy
    • Marginal Analysis: cost-benefit analysis
    • Force Field Analysis (FFA): reviews any proposed action with proactive and opposing forces
    • Process Improvement Plan: process boundaries, configuration, process metrics/efficiencies, targets for improved performance
    • Quality Checklists: checklist to verify a series of steps have been performed
    • Marginal Analysis: ROI of quality measures

Manage Quality (formerly “perform quality assurance”)

  • Inputs: Project Management Plan, Project Documents, OPA
  • Tools & Techniques: Data Gathering, Data Analysis, Decision Making, Data Representation, Audits, Design for X (DfX), Problem Solving, Quality Improvement Methods
  • Outputs: Quality Report, Test and Evaluation Documents, Change Requests, Project Management Plan Updates, Project Documents Updates

  • Manage Quality is in the Executing Process Group
    • ensures the quality standards are being followed, to ensure unfinished works would meet the quality requirements
    • by quality assurance department or sponsor/customer not actively involved in the project
    • primarily concerned with overall process improvement for activities and processes (rather than the deliverable)
    • utilize the data collected in Control Quality Process
  • Data Analysis tools:
    • Alternatives analysis
    • Document analysis
    • Process analysis — to identify opportunities for process improvements
    • Root cause analysis
  • Data Representation tools:
    • Affinity Diagrams: like a mind-mapping diagram, organize thoughts on how to solve problems
    • Cause and Effect Diagrams
    • Flowcharts
    • Histograms
    • Matrix Diagrams: e.g. ‘house of quality’ in QFD
    • Scatter Diagrams
  • Design for X (Design for Excellence, DfX)
    • a set of technical guidelines that may be applied during the design phase of a product to optimize specific aspects of the design
    • may be able to improve the final characteristics of the product (in aspects like cost reduction, quality improvement, better performance and customer satisfaction)
  • Quality Audit: to verify quality of processes, to seek improvement, identify best practices, reduce overall cost of quality, confirm implementation of approved changes, need quality documentation
  • Quality Review: to review the quality management plan
  • change requests are mostly procedural changes
  • Quality Improvement Methods are used to analyze and evaluate opportunities for improvements:
    • Plan-Do-Check-Act
    • Six Sigma
  • Quality Reports
    • can be graphical, numerical or qualitative
    • to provide information to help take corrective actions to fulfil project quality expectations
    • includes quality management issues escalated by the team; recommendations for process, project and product improvements; corrective action recommendations (can be rework, defect, bug repair, inspection, etc.), summary findings
  • Test and Evaluation Documents
    • used to evaluate the achievement of quality objectives
    • may include checklists and detailed requirements traceability matrices

Control Quality

  • Inputs: Project Management Plan, Project Documents, Approved Change Requests, Deliverables, Work Performance Data, EEF, OPA
  • Tools & Techniques: Data Gathering, Data Analysis, Inspection, Testing/product Evaluations, Data Representation, Meetings
  • Outputs: Quality Control Measurements, Verified Deliverables, Work Performance Information, Change Requests, Project Management Plan Updates, Project Documents Updates

  • verify the deliverables against customer’s specifications to ensure customer satisfaction
  • validate the changes against the original approved change requests
  • conditional probability (events somewhat related) vs statistical independence (events not interrelated) vs mutual exclusivity
  • statistical sampling for control quality
  • variable (continuous) data: measurements, can do maths on e.g. average
  • attribute (discrete) data: yes/no, no.123, just an identifier, can’t do maths on
  • QC includes the PM process (lesson learnt, budget, scope)
  • tolerance (spec limits, deliverables acceptable) vs control limits (process acceptable)
  • if within control limit but outside tolerance: rework the process to give better precision
  • all control and execution processes may generate lesson learned
  • Data Analysis Techniques:
    • Performance reviews
    • Root cause analysis
  • Testing/Product Evaluations
    • an organized investigation to provide objective information about the quality of the product/service in accordance with project requirements


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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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18 Responses

  1. Doug Bast says:

    “Manage Quality (formerly Manage Quality)”?

  2. Cyrus says:

    Also, if the team would like to impress the customers by adding a new feature, which is gold-plating, should the pm strongly reject the movement, still apply for a change request or analyze the impact of the change? Many thanks for your help. Thank you.

  3. Cyrus says:

    Hi, Edward. I have got some questions. What if you found the deliverables are not acceptable, but the project sponsor insist to deliver. What should the pm do? Should the pm follow what the project sponsor said even though you know it is not right?

    • Hi Cyrus,

      That’s really a difficult situation as there is no one to escalate to. Maybe the PM should walk away… I really don’t know. Sorry for not being able to help.

  4. Ciprian says:

    I got my PMP certification on my first attemp today, with one on target and 4 above target. I want to express my gratitute and appreciation for your effort in sharing all the valuable information on your website. I have recommeded it to other aspirants I know and I am sure they will appreciate it as much as I do.

  5. Hema says:

    I just discovered your website. This is really detailed. Thank you so much for this. I would like to print your notes to study. Can you suggest the easiest way to print your Study Notes.

  6. “85% of quality problem is managers’  responsibility”
    YES! and therefore its all about proper communication with
    the team.

  7. Sathiyanarayanan D says:

    Hi Edward,
    I take this opportunity to thank you for the guidance and notes provided under your website. It has really help me to clear my PMP exams with overall Target band.I didn’t join any external course only with help of PMBOK, Rita and your notes helped to achieve this milestone. Below are some of the steps I followed to clear the PMP exams.

    1. First set the goal/target of 2 months to complete the PMP.
    2. Register and became the member of PMI.
    3. Gone though the PMBOK guide (high level and didn’t understand much in first read)
    4. got the Rita book and started going through the process. (got some understanding on the topics)
    5. Reread the Rita again and this time understanding was better.
    6. Searched for the easy way of remembering the flow and process in Google and luckily I found your website.
    7. I integrated all my learning by using your pmp notes. Especially the EVM the way you explained in very simple words.
    8. Now its time for testing the knowledge.
    9. Followed your suggestion and Olivier Lehmann website suggestion for free exams.
    10. I scored some where around 67% in OL 175 PDF and Simplilearn.
    11. In order to keep engaged on PMP I installed PMP exam prep app. The quality of question is very good. mostly all situational and length question. Constantly giving test on this app and I set target for me around 85%. Took 10 days to achieve that target.
    12. Booked the exam slot.
    14. One week before the exam, gone through the PMBOK for the definitions and high level read as I found some of free exams of paid websites(PMAspire, PMZest) were focusing more on the PMBOK definition.
    15. Revised the Rita process chart and gone though your notes and the confused terms which you explained.
    16. Gone thourgh some you tube videos of tips and tricks to read pmp question and answer them
    17.Gave the final exam and manage to clear in first attempt.

    once again thanking you for your effort of making PMP exam so simple.


  8. Ksenia says:

    Hallo Edward, thank you your for your materials.

    Could you please explain about the common and speical causes in more detail? I thought the common causes were normal and the speical causes are those which you should take care of.

    I am referring to this paragraph of yours:

    if a process is within control limit but beyond specification limit, the process is experiencing common cause variation (random) that cannot be corrected by the system, management help is needed (special cause can be tackled but NOT common cause)

    How could it anyway be that the process is within control limit but beyond specification limit? I though the control limits are tougher. So if the process is beyond the specification limit then it is also beyond the control limit.

    Thank you very much in advance for your comments!

  9. Tim Cheng says:

    Hi Edward,

    Thanks for replying and letting me know.

    I definitely understand about the proprietary information piece – PMI is very particular about that. I hate to ask, but would you by any chance be able to e-mail me your ITTO tables? I’m assuming you created in excel? I’m pretty sure, sharing an excel table you created wouldn’t be an infringement, since you’re not publishing on your website?

    I just ask because I started to creating my own table by looking through the PMBOK and it’s taking me a LONG time. Since I’m working to create what you already created by going through the PMBOK, and merely putting this in excel, I wouldn’t consider that an infringement, nor what you would share with me.Again would save me a lot of time I could then devote to studying. But, if you feel uncomfortable with that no worries – want to make sure you feel you do the right ting, but thought it worth asking. Thanks!

    [email protected]

  10. Hi Tim,

    Thanks a lot for your comment.
    1) For the ITTOs, sorry that these are no longer available for fear of copyright infringements of PMI. I can no longer offer these online.
    2) For the PMP study notes, again for fear of copyright infringements, I have deleted those figures/tables that I have copied directly from PMBOK Guide / PM PrepCast. That’s why I would encourage PMP Aspirants to make their own study notes. But I did make use of the notes here as my last minute study notes that I brought to the PMP Exam centre.

    Wish you PMP success!


  11. Tim Cheng says:

    Hi Edward,

    Great notes, guidance, and advice on the PMP. Your advice on the PM Prepcast and highlighting the strengths of the three PMP study books really helped!

    Questions for you:

    1) The notes you provided help a lot. I can’t help but notice that the ITTO’S used to show up on the webpage showing the notes, but now I can only see them when downloading the PDF. It was very convenient when they were on the webpage because I could copy and paste them in table format into excel and make my own notes that way. However, I noticed I cannot do that with the PDF’s (just copies and pastes as a big text). Would you be able to share the ITTO’s as they were before or in some excel format?

    2) Your notes a great and succinct (4- 5 pages per chp). Are these the notes you studied off of for the test? I’m also taking notes as I go through PM Prepcast and Head First PMP book, and noticing my notes are like 20 -25 pages long. Obviously going off of your notes would be much more efficient if that is truly the distilled version of the only thing I need to study for. That would make me very happy. however, I’m guessing that is not the case. Could you confirm?

    Again, great job on providing a VERY useful resource for PMP Aspirants. Truly good way to expand the PM Body of Knowledge and paying it forward!

    Tim Cheng