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Which special management tools should I use to manage Quality? We will need management tools for Quality Planning, Quality Control, and Quality Assurance. Quality tools used today are primarily based on statistical analyses, which follows from the pioneer work, in manufacturing, of Shewhart, Juran, and Deming.

Working at Ford, during the Deming years, we had a department fully employed and dedicated to Quality Management. I had the good fortune to lead Total Quality Management (TQM) and Total Productive Management (TPM) in our plant. Later, I led a team to re-certification in ISO 9000. Several months of study and practice may be required to fully develop your skills in Quality Management. But if you are interested, there is a good amount of information available, and this page is a great starting point.

Keep in mind that a major difference exists between manufacturing and project management. In manufacturing the process is repeated many times over, and we can measure the same dimension on many different “widgets”. In project management the process is a temporary endeavor, may be a “one-time-deal”, and may yield few (or one) samples to measure. Therefore, some adaptations to the manufacturing approach are required to enable Quality Management in Project Management.

We will look at Tools available in the three major Quality processes: Quality Planning, Quality Control (QC), and Quality Assurance (QA).  These Tools can be the subject of your further in-depth study, but are presented here is an overview to get you started.


Tools used to plan Quality management in your project are those you can use to set up your project's Quality plan, and to change your Quality plan when required. They are:

  • Benchmarking. What is the industry standard variability? Comparing actual or planned project practices to a known standard (Benchmark) for comparable projects helps to make realistic goals for variability from the target measure. The standard used for comparison may be from the industry sector, from past projects, from market surveys, and so on. Benchmarking is aimed at finding best practices, generating ideas for improvement, and providing a basis for measuring performance.

  • Cost/ Benefit Analysis. Is this characteristic worth measuring? How much time and effort will it take to measure this characteristic? What do we hope to gain by measuring this? Is it worthwhile economically, socially, environmentally, politically?

  • Cost of Quality (COQ). Managing quality does cost something. Both in conformance and in non-conformance. This was elaborated on the Front Page: 'HOW? - Quality the Elusive Property' . These costs need to be included in your project budget.

  • Decision Making such as: Priority Matrix, Process Decision Program Chart, Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA), and 8-D.      MCDA  

  • Data Representation: Plan how your Quality data will be shown. Examples are: Logical Data Diagrams, Matrix diagrams, Mind Mapping.

  • Process Map (Flow Diagram): Map out the steps of your Quality Management Plan.

  • Test and Inspection Planning: How you will test and/or inspect the project deliverables. The actual testing and/or inspecting will occur in the Quality Control process.

  • Meetings. Not always thought of as a management tool, well run meetings can really help you develop your project's Quality Management Plan. Invite only those people from your Key Stakeholders list who will meaningfully contribute. Make clear the purpose of the meeting. Provide a firm start time and stop time for the meeting and stick to it.

       ADDITIONAL Quality Planning TOOL

  • Design of Experiments (DOE) is a systematic method to determine the relationship between factors affecting a process and the output of that process. DOE is used in Quality Planning to help select critical characteristics, especially if using indirect measurement. More information about DOE is found here.




As work progresses on your project you will want tools to analyze how well the work outputs are conforming to the target values. Tools available to control Quality in your project are:

  • Seven Basic Quality Tools. Essentially all Quality Management programs use these tools. They are universally used and always called the 7 Basic Quality Tools or 7QC Tools. Process mapping is used to describe the process in use, and compare it to the planned process. The other six basic tools are used to gather and represent the measurements taken.


  • A two-part video is found below. (It will load faster in Firefox than in Internet Explorer). In the order presented, the Seven Basic Quality Tools are:

    •          1. Process Map (Flow Diagram)

    •          2. Control Chart

    •          3. Pareto Chart         Pareto  

    •          4. Cause & Effect (Root Cause) Diagram            Cause & Effect  

    •          5. Histogram

    •          6. Check Sheet (Tally Sheet)

    •                7. Scatter Chart

7 Basic Quality Tools
QC Tools

Channel 5
The Seven Basic Quality Tools- - PART 1
Play Video
The Seven Basic Quality Tools - PART 2
Play Video


  • Checklist is a list of items, actions, or points to consider, often used as a reminder. It is nearly impossible to build an exhaustive checklist so keep updating your checklists from past experience.

  • Statistical Sampling is the selection of a subset of individuals from within a statistical population to estimate characteristics of the whole population. During QC you will select your samples to measure. Not wanting to inspect 100% of everything, we need to know how big a sample to inspect in order to represent the entire group. Mathematical calculation can be used to determine sample size. Alternately, simply picking a few individuals at random and adjusting sample size as required is a simple approach. Sample size becomes part of your Quality Management Plan.

  • Inspection. An inspection is the examination of a work product to see HOW closely it conforms to the documented standards. The examination usually includes measurements. Inspections are also used to validate repairs to defects.

  • Change Request Review. Also included in QC is a review of approved change requests to ensure they were implemented as approved.




Quality Assurance is the process conducted to ensure the other processes are being followed, and that the Quality processes are yielding the desired outcomes. This process includes auditing the results from Quality Control measurements. Tools used for Quality Assurance are:

  • Checklist is a list of items, actions, or points to consider, often used as a reminder. It is nearly impossible to build an exhaustive checklist so keep updating your checklists from past experience.

  • Process Analysis. A close up look at the Quality Control processes being used. These analyses study the processes, looking for causes of variations, to see if the processes need improvement. By understanding how the processes function, we can identify potential opportunities for process improvement.

  • Decision Making such as: Process Decision Program Chart, Multi-Criteria decision Analysis (MCDA), and 8-D.      MCDA  

  • Affinity Grouping Diagrams: to look for commonalities in the causes of variation. These diagrams allow large numbers of ideas to be classified into groups for review and analysis.

  • Process Map (Flow Diagram). Map out the steps of your Quality Management Plan.

  • Histogram: Refer to the video above

  • Matrix Diagrams are a good method of data representation. These diagrams help find the strength of relationships among different factors, causes, and objectives that exist between the rows and columns that form the matrix.

  • Scatter Chart: Refer to the video above

  • Quality Audits. These are structured, independent examinations to see if the Quality processes are being followed.

IN ADDITION, these tools are available:

               1. Force Field: Weighted Pro's and Con's to a decision         Force Field  

               2. Nominal Group Technique:

                                        Identify and Prioritize ideas           Nominal Group     

               3. Diagraphs: A Quality Planning tool that provides a process to sort out

                    intertwined logical relationships

               4. Tree Diagram: Used to break down broad categories into finer levels

                    of detail.

                5. Prioritization Matrix: Used prioritize alternates by multiplying criteria

                    rating by criteria weight for each alternate.

                6. Network Diagram: Illustrates the sequence and value of activities.

                     CPM schedule diagrams are typical.

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