Quality Assurance is the process concerned with monitoring the quality of all aspects of a project so that the final product fulfils all requirements. So QA is performed before the product is finished – it is an essential part of project management and one of the factors that will determine whether the project is a success or not. It can be a separate role from that of project manager but very often QA is just another one of those hats that the project manager wears from time-to-time.
Note that Quality Control is concerned with the quality of the finished product so is focussed on whether a product meets the original specifications and any additional guidelines for a particular type of product – essentially whether it is fit for purpose.
But let's just focus here on some tips about how to ensure your QA processes are adequate and that they will add benefit to your project rather than just be another bureaucratic procedure to be completed. Remember QA is not designed to keep the auditors happy but to help make the project a success.
1. Get involved in the change management process to assess any quality issues with incorporating changes.
2. Ensure that all changes to specifications are approved – a list of approvers should have been included in all original documentation
3. Update project documentation with approved changes and distribute to all stakeholders using the communication plan to determine how and to whom the updates should be sent.
4. Elicit feedback from stakeholders about the adequacy of the reporting from the project manager and/or team.
5. Perform regular quality audits and document any potential quality problems.
6. Where differences exist between what was expected and what was delivered or performed (from any task or process) try to determine and document the cause of the discrepancy.
7. Manage the preparation of test environments and documentation of test cases.
8. Ensure expected test results are fully documented.
9. Ensure test results are reported to stakeholders and approved by them.
10. Report all problems with test cases and test results to approvers and stakeholders.