Quality Auditing and Project Management 101
How quality auditing and project management go hand-in-hand
Quality audits are a necessary part of a project life cycle and need to be a pre-planned part of project management processes. Quality audits will be conducted internally and externally by a qualified auditing manager and/or an audit team.
Quality auditors champion quality and compliance while pioneering continuous improvement. They work with a project management team to ensure a robust quality management system and meet any quality system standards, such as ISO 9001. Therefore, the standards can be self-determined as well as set by an industry.
Four key elements of a project management quality audit:
They are structured and planned
Involve vigorous process
Present documented conclusions
A well-led quality audit will independently determine if a project activity complies with the policies, procedures, and processes of the organisation or project. A quality audit is a documented assessment that will reveal a level of conformance or non-conformance to requirements of a system, process or product.
Projects may require more than one type of quality audit.
The types of quality audits will depend on the industry where the project is being conducted. Construction and building projects will require a different audit schedule to software development projects. Therefore, the actual audit schedule should be planned in advance as part of the project management scope. Examples of quality audits are:
Third-party audits for certification purposes
General internal project audits
Specific internal audits from a parent company or joint venture company
Project Manager audits requested by the client
Work-Audits which may involve an on-site quality tour/walk
Unplanned audits in reaction to a request or incident
Quality auditing will uncover both the good and the shortcomings of a project
Project managers will receive vital information about:
The good and best practices being implemented in the organisation or project
The non-conformities, shortcoming, and gaps in the project
The good practices found within the organisation and project
Recommendations to improve the implementation of different processes to raise the productivity of the team
Quality audits are aimed at correcting any deficiencies in the project that may result in the reduction of the cost of quality.
Practically speaking, a quality audit will ensure:
Deliverables are fit for use and meet safety standards
Adherence to applicable laws and standards
Corrective action is recommended and implemented where necessary
The Quality Plan is followed correctly from the beginning
Quality improvements are identified sooner
Implementation of approved changes occurs in the right way
Why project managers need to encourage quality audits
The way quality audits are planned and approached will affect the entire project life-cycle. Successful audit planning will result in:
Pre-defined standards that will impact the way the project is planned
Quality requirements for specific work packages and deliverables are identified in advance
Procedures being followed at all stages
Identifying which Quality Methods must be defined and followed
Completed work and deliverables reviewed for compliance
Quality audits in project management should be an underlying framework and provide a set of rules to apply to the project’s Quality Management processes.