Whose Responsibility is Quality Management?
By Rashma Poojary, Community Contributor - June 22, 2023
Quality management is critical to any organization’s operations, ensuring that products and services meet or exceed customer expectations. But who bears the responsibility for quality management? The quality department’s roles and responsibilities encompass quality assurance, quality control, and quality improvement. However, effective quality management extends beyond the quality department, requiring commitment and engagement from leadership, process owners, and employees at all levels.
This article will explore quality department roles and responsibilities and shed light on the broader concept of quality management within an organization.
What is Process Quality Management?
Project Quality Management is a continuous process of managing all activities and tasks that must be completed to achieve the desired quality. ‘Quality’ may seem to imply perfection, but in this case, it is more about maintaining consistency in quality throughout the project.
- ISO – International Organization for Standardization defines quality as “the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfill requirements”. In other words, it is about meeting the needs of stakeholders. For many, quality is about good value, getting your time and money’s worth. For example, even low-cost products should still work as expected, be safe to use, and last a reasonable time.
- Quality Management is concerned with converting prospects into long-term consumers. Businesses can accomplish this by constantly refining the products, absorbing modifications, and removing flaws. It ensures that the product is delivered on time to the expected standard.
It determines the steps to achieve and confirm those standards and controls the cost of a project. Proper quality management lowers the risk of product failures and ensures customer satisfaction by delivering high-quality products.
Also Read: 15 Techniques to Improve Software Quality
Role of a Quality Manager
The Project Manager / Quality Manager is generally responsible for the quality management process. Some projects will have specific quality assurance, control, or quality experts roles. Project quality management roles and responsibilities start with the planning, but the implementation must be carried out throughout the project with the guidance of the Quality Manager.
1. Quality Planning
Quality Planning is not just ensuring the project is done on time and under budget. It is also about checking if the product meets the end user’s expectations.
Quality Planning is all about creating a design process that ensures the team meets pre-established goals under operational conditions. A Quality Manager should consider realistic, specific, measurable, agreed-upon, and time-bound metrics. Planning should include cost-benefit analysis, benchmarking, design of experiments, control charts, etc. Learn how to determine the right testing metrics.
- Cost-benefit analysis analyzes the cost spent on improving quality, like improving project processes or design or the cost spent on testing and inspections with the benefits of quality.
- Benchmarking is about utilizing the best practices for improving quality by referring to other successful projects from the past.
- Design of experiments is about understanding the different factors affecting the ongoing project process with the outcome, which in return will help to improve quality by taking necessary steps.
- Control charts check whether the ongoing project is within the specification. Random samples are taken and analyzed to check whether the actual data is within the control limit.
Also Read: How to set goals for Software Quality
2. Quality Assurance
The Quality Manager has to ensure that what is planned as part of the quality planning gets executed. This is done by performing regular project audits to identify deviations from what is designed in the quality planning.
Quality Assurance ensures that the test plan and controls are working properly. The original quality plan must be reviewed regularly and compared with the current progress to maintain quality.
Read More: Essential Metrics for the QA Process
3. Quality Control
As part of a Quality Control Project, data is measured to see whether quality indicators are improving. The Quality Manager has to develop proper quality control processes. For example, if a project was planned to be completed at a specific cost limit of +/- 5%, it needs to be analyzed quarterly to understand if it is going out of budget. If the cost limit increases in each assessment, the Quality manager has to take timely measures to stay within the budget by taking appropriate actions.
Also Read: Understanding Code Review and its Benefits
Responsibilities of a Quality Manager
Listed below are the responsibilities of a quality manager.
- To understand client requirements and expectations from the project.
- Ensure to develop proper quality planning and quality control processes.
- Reviewing and approving the documents to be sent to stake keyholders.
- I am developing project standards, guidelines, and specifications.
- Ensure that critical inspections are being performed.
- Ensuring products are designed taking account of safety standards.
- Supervising team and monitoring project standards.
- Scheduling regular product testing and ensuring that the quality is within the standards.
- Tracking and verifying that the project’s requirements are met.
- Ensuring the corrective action plans are in place and followed upon inspection of work.
- Performing time-to-time statistical analysis.
- Setting the requirements from clients and monitoring their compliance.
- Getting client feedback, attending meetings, submitting reports, and assisting the auditors.
- Taking part in the budget planning process for the project.
- To collaborate between stakeholders, that is, the company and the client.
Who is Responsible for Quality Management?
While the quality department plays a central role in quality management, the responsibility for ensuring quality extends beyond this department alone. It requires a collective effort from all levels of an organization.
Even though the Quality Manager is ultimately responsible for the quality of the project as a whole, project quality is not only the responsibility of a Manager. Everyone in the team, including stakeholders, should take responsibility for improving quality performance. Everyone should do their part by giving ideas for product improvement and project deliverables.
Cross-functional teams need to communicate with each other and ensure quality. This helps teams question and agree/disagree on certain quality measures. This enables quality managers to redesign features or UI and take calculated risks.
When quality becomes everybody’s responsibility, companies build a strong fail-proof concept and a product.