Quality Auditing and Project Management 101

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:

  1. They are structured and planned

  2. Completely independent

  3. Involve vigorous process

  4. 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:

  • Prequalification/pre-selection audits

  • 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.


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