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Challenges in Project Quality Management

Executive summary

This report offers a comprehensive analysis of project quality management and emphasizes the importance of maintaining clear and consistently upheld quality standards, as demonstrated by the Boeing 737 MAX crisis. It emphasizes the importance of proper risk management and stringent quality assurance procedures, especially in safety-critical businesses. The oil leak from the Deepwater Horizon demonstrates the importance of anticipating and preparing for foreseeable dangers. The event with the Tesla Autopilot System highlights the need to strike a realistic balance between scheduling and resource allocation. Incorporating the ‘cost of quality’ (COQ) idea into project management approaches may help pinpoint issues, track development, and make targeted adjustments that will positively impact the bottom line. The paper suggests using a Quality Management System (QMS) to standardize procedures, ongoing training to keep staff up-to-date, and quality management tools to analyze and monitor workflows. Organizations may build a solid quality management framework by implementing these suggestions into well-known project management approaches like PMBOK, PRINCE2, and Six Sigma. For projects to be completed effectively and to the satisfaction of all stakeholders, quality management must be more than just a routine procedure.


Effective project quality management is essential for meeting stakeholder expectations and completing projects on time and within budget. As businesses realize the value of high-quality project results, it haslearning about the difficulties, obstacles, and successful approaches to controlling project quality becomes crucial. The motivation for this study is the critical necessity to delve deeply into the complex dynamics of project quality management. There is an ongoing demand for businesses to execute projects that meet and exceed stakeholder expectations in today’s competitive and fast-changing business climate. A project’s performance, stakeholder happiness, and an organization’s reputation are all closely tied to how well its quality management is handled. This study was designed with a holistic perspective on quality management in mind. Using real-world examples and case studies to back up their claims, the first half of this paper explains why project quality management is so important and how it affects several facets of a project, including budget, schedule, communication, and stakeholder satisfaction. In the next part, we’ll examine the obstacles that might arise while trying to control the quality of a project, including things like ambiguous guidelines, ineffective risk assessment, a lack of funding, and scheduling conflicts. Then, we go into the ‘cost of quality’ (COQ) and show how it might inform your next move as a project manager. Finally, the report provides well-argued recommendations for improving the effectiveness of quality management in projects, such as adopting Quality Management Systems, implementing continuous training initiatives, and using quality management tools.

The Concept of Project Quality Management

The goal of quality management on a project is to guarantee that the final product achieves its intended purposes and the goals of its stakeholders through a series of procedures and activities. It entails embedding the organization’s quality policies into the project’s planning, management, and control activities, as stated in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) (McAdam et al. 2019). Plan Quality Management details the project’s quality criteria and standards and the methods by which they will be met. Manage Quality takes the quality management strategy and turns it into tangible steps, all while incorporating the organization’s quality policies into the project’s actual implementation. In the Control Quality stage, the results of quality management activities are monitored and recorded so that performance can be evaluated and the project’s outputs can be verified for completeness, accuracy, and conformity with client requirements. Implementing a Quality Management System, ensuring Quality Assurance through independent assessment of adherence to systematic quality methods, conducting Quality Planning to define product specifications, and implementing Quality Control processes to verify product compliance with specifications are the four main tenets of the PRINCE2 framework for quality management (Abbas, 2020). Additionally, Six Sigma, a quality management process developed in the 1980s, employs tools and techniques to eliminate errors, involving stages such as defining the problem, measuring it using data and performance metrics, analyzing goals and process efficiency, implementing improvements, and maintaining the solution (Fan and Geerts 2022).

Quality Management in Achieving Project Outcomes

Using quality management effectively in projects is essential for assuring positive results and achieving the goals of all involved parties. The PMBOK and PRINCE2 frameworks both emphasize the significance of quality management due to its effect on the project’s timeline, budget, level of communication, and compliance with established guidelines. Failure to achieve quality criteria is associated with lower earnings, more project risks, more mistakes, more rework, and worse customer satisfaction, as Franco et al. (2019) stated. Product and process viability can only be guaranteed via strict adherence to established quality management systems and external standards. To safeguard the most vulnerable members of society, organizations providing services to persons with disabilities must transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) with an emphasis on quality management. Complex complaint procedures and restricted quality monitoring frameworks are just two examples of the obstacles that highlight the need for efficient quality management systems to fill in the blanks and guarantee the right way to handle complaints and concerns, as per Saffar and Obeidat (2020). Risks may be reduced, customer satisfaction can be increased, and the project’s success can be guaranteed with the help of quality management methods.

Challenges In Managing Project Quality

The uncertainty and constant evolution of quality standards may make quality management challenging for each project. When quality standards are unclear or subject to frequent revision, project quality management might be hampered (Alzoubi, 2022). Under these conditions, project teams often struggle to understand what is expected of them and to provide consistent, high-quality results. This lack of specificity might cause uncertainty among workers, leading to shoddy results. For example, in 2018 and 2019, two 737 MAX aeroplanes tragically crashed, taking the lives of 346 people (Mhatre et al., 2023). According to the investigations, the accidents were traced back to poor design and manufacturing practices. Boeing’s continuous focus on cost-cutting took precedence over comprehensive quality assurance measures, resulting in decreased openness and monitoring in quality control systems. According to Eshun (2020), Boeing’s reputation and trust among stakeholders were seriously harmed due to the company’s failure to adhere to clear and strong quality standards, which led to a tragic loss of life. PRINCE2 and the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) stress the need for well-articulated and consistently applied quality standards. The value of well-defined quality standards cannot be emphasized in Six Sigma, which prioritizes process improvement and the removal of defects. In an industry where even little deviations can have devastating repercussions, such as the aircraft sector, clearly defined and constantly maintained quality standards are of the utmost significance, as seen by the Boeing 737 MAX problem.

Lack of proper risk management is a major obstacle to ensuring the highest quality of a project’s outcome. Risk management, which involves detecting possible hazards, analyzing their effect and likelihood, and adopting measures to minimize or eliminate them, is a crucial part of project quality management, as stated by Alameri et al. (2021). The quality of the project’s outputs might be negatively impacted if risks are not appropriately recognized, analyzed, and managed. The PRINCE2 methodology’s Risk theme stresses taking precautions when dealing with potential dangers. It encourages thorough risk analysis to avoid problems before they detract from a project’s quality. The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) promotes a preventative approach to risk management that entails all of these steps and risk analysis (qualitative and quantitative), reaction planning, monitoring, and control. Using these approaches, project managers may build a solid risk management structure that helps them better identify, evaluate, and deal with possible dangers. The disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil leak in 2010 is used as an example of what might happen when risks aren’t properly managed (Kraft & Crandall, 2019). An explosion on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig released millions of barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, causing widespread ecological damage. Investigations determined that the rig’s operator, BP, had not properly evaluated and addressed potential threats to the drilling operation.

Challenges in controlling project quality due to insufficient resources and time allocation might lead to disappointing outcomes and risks. Shortcuts and compromises in quality assurance tasks are common due to a lack of resources, as stated by Zid et al. (2020). When important quality procedures like testing and validation are rushed due to a lack of time, problems in the final product or service are more likely to occur. The PRINCE2 approach emphasizes efficient resource management to realize the project’s goals. To ensure quality assurance tasks are carried out completely, Zid et al. (2020) note that PMBOK emphasizes the necessity for realistic scheduling and explains the relevance of time management. In addition, Six Sigma approaches promote a data-driven strategy for enhancing processes, emphasising the most effective use of available time and materials to bring about the necessary quality improvements. The Tesla Autopilot System is a good example of the consequences of inadequate resources and time allocation. Dorsz and Lewandowski (2021) argue that the death of a Tesla Model S driver in a collision with a truck in 2016 demonstrated the dangers of releasing a product too quickly. Due to time and budget restrictions, investigations found that Tesla had not extensively tested the Autopilot technology for real-world settings. A deadly fault was introduced into the system because of the haste it was brought to market, putting consumers in danger.

Implications Of ‘Cost Of Quality’

The ‘cost of quality’ (COQ) idea is widely acknowledged as a useful tool for enhancing project quality management. The cost of poor quality, or COQ, is the sum of all associated expenses, such as those associated with prevention, evaluation, and breakdown. Project managers may enhance quality results by identifying and addressing cost of quality (COQ) challenges. Establishing explicit quality objectives and indicators at the outset of a project is the first step in introducing COQ principles into the PRINCE2 framework (Alzoubi et al., 2022). Project managers may keep tabs on quality at every process stage, provided they define quantifiable metrics that align with the project’s objectives. Careful risk assessments can reveal looming quality problems, paving the way for preventative measures to be taken. Implementing quality control and assurance operations, including inspections and testing, further assures early fault discovery. Project managers may make better decisions based on data, avoid quality concerns, and maximize resources by continuously monitoring and analyzing COQ parameters. For COQ integration to function inside the PMBOK, extensive cost-benefit evaluations must be performed to inform quality management decisions. A well-structured strategy is guaranteed by specifying goals, KPIs, control procedures, and assurance methods in a quality management plan, as Shafiei et al. (2020) stated. Robust quality control and assurance methods and frequent quality management audits assist in fault prevention and rectification. Project managers may better allocate resources and increase overall efficiency by factoring in COQ factors, which provide them with a more nuanced view of quality-related expenses. As described by Dimitrantzou et al. (2021), Six Sigma uses COQ analysis methodically. It is possible to get a complete picture of quality-related expenses by defining and quantifying COQ categories, including prevention, assessment, and failure. Analyzing COQ data, determining the reasons for quality problems, and making targeted changes are all facilitated using Six Sigma methods like DMAIC. Continuous monitoring and improvement actions under the Six Sigma framework enable continuous quality gains, decreasing total COQ over time.


In order to ensure that quality targets are met, a Quality Management System (QMS) should be put in place to formally document all of the relevant activities, steps, and roles involved. In order to meet the requirements and guidelines set out by consumers and regulatory organizations, businesses might benefit from using a Quality Management System (QMS), as stated by Shehhi and Azam (2019). This approach ensures high-quality project delivery every time and promotes steady progress toward goals. According to Fakhravar and Ouabira (2021), approaches like PRINCE2 and PMBOK that prioritize structured project management and quality control lend themselves well to implementing Quality Management Systems (QMS). Project managers can successfully include quality as a foundational component across the whole lifecycle of a project by integrating project processes with the Quality Management System (QMS).

Regular training is a crucial recommendation to improve the efficiency of quality management in projects. According to (Studer et al., 2021), frequent training programs ensure team members possess up-to-date information on the most current quality standards and processes. Standards and criteria for assuring quality change to keep up with the changing nature of industries. Keeping the project team up-to-date on the latest best practices is essential if high-quality project deliverables are to be consistently produced throughout the project’s duration. This method is consistent with the Six Sigma methodology, emphasising training and knowledge sharing to boost process efficiency and quality (Studer et al., 2021). By investing in training programs, businesses may improve the efficiency and effectiveness of project teams, making it more likely that those teams will consistently produce high-quality results.

Quality management tools are a generally supported for pinpointing problem areas and measuring the success of quality improvement initiatives. Project managers and teams use flowcharts, check sheets, Pareto diagrams, cause and effect diagrams, and control charts to analyze processes and track performance indicators (Ibidapo, 2022). Tools like these align with the Six Sigma methodology, which stresses data-driven decision-making and process analysis to reduce defects and boost quality. These methods equip project managers with the information they need to identify the root causes of quality issues, track progress toward addressing those issues, and make educated decisions to improve quality. There is potential for increased accuracy and efficiency in project procedures if quality management systems are integrated with PRINCE2 and the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).


In conclusion, good project quality management is crucial to attaining successful project results and satisfying stakeholders’ expectations. The issue with the Boeing 737 MAX highlights the fundamental need for comprehensive quality assurance methods, especially in safety-sensitive businesses, demonstrating the importance of clear and continuously maintained quality standards. The Deepwater Horizon oil leak exemplifies the importance of taking a proactive and comprehensive risk management approach to avoid catastrophic outcomes. The event with the Tesla Autopilot System emphasizes the need to manage limited time and resources and highlights the risks associated with developing a product quickly. The ‘cost of quality’ (COQ) idea helps project managers understand the monetary costs associated with subpar work to make educated decisions and efficiently use available resources. By including the cost of quality (COQ) in project management practices, leaders will be better equipped to investigate issues, track developments, and make strategic adjustments that will lower costs without sacrificing quality. Adopting a Quality Management System (QMS) formalizes procedures, assures consistency in quality management techniques, and ultimately improves quality management. Teams’ abilities are bolstered by ongoing training programs that bring them up to speed on the most recent practices and regulations. The ability to analyze processes and keep tabs on quality is greatly enhanced by using quality management technologies. Organizations may develop a solid quality management framework by implementing these suggestions into project management approaches like PMBOK, PRINCE2, and Six Sigma. Consistently delivering high-quality projects, which promotes stakeholder satisfaction and organizational success, is made possible by addressing difficulties, comprehending cost implications, and adopting well-informed solutions.


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