It is hard to define product or service quality at a high level because the term “quality” is nebulous and means different things to different people. You must take the time to define the lower-level characteristics of quality for each specific service or deliverable. If you want to ensure that a service or product meets the customer’s expectations of quality, you have to understand the underlying characteristics of quality.

For example when you talk about product quality, you need to describe the term “quality” with more specific terms such as:

Reliable

Easy to use

Easy to maintain when completed

Available when needed

Flexible for future needs

Good value for dollars spent

Intuitive / easy to understand

Secure

Well documented

Minimally defective (doesn’t have to be perfect)

Responsive (good response time)

When you talk about service quality, the term “quality” might mean terms such as:

A match to client needs

Responsive

Competent

Accessible

Courteous

Good communicators

Credible

Knowledgeable of the client

We can only put a read quality management plan in place after we first understand the characteristics or aspects of quality.

Use Quality Control Activities to Validate the Quality of your Deliverables

Quality control activities are those that are focused on the overall quality of the deliverable being produced. Quality control is also referred to as inspection, since you are validating or inspecting something that already exists. Depending on the type of project, the following activities are examples of quality control activities.

Deliverable reviews /  peer reviews / technical reviews / code reviews. 

Checklists to ensure that deliverables are consistent and contain all the necessary information.

Reuse of proven software

Standards to ensure consistency

Structured methods to ensure standard, proven processes are used

Thorough testing (unit, system, integration, acceptance). Testing is probably the aspect of quality control that is most used today. Even though there are many techniques that build in quality further up-front, the confidence you have in the overall quality most likely comes from your testing. For this reason, you cannot overlook testing. Testing is your last chance to ensure that the solution you deliver meets the expectations of the client.

Generally, testing is the way to ensure that the solution satisfies the requirements and is free from defects. However, at a lower level, testing is also as a way of:

Proving overall reliability

Making sure the solution will work in the exact environment that it will encounter in production

Ensuring the solution will not fail over time

Making sure the results produced are consistent and reliable

Ensuring that the results will not degrade over time

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