A number of PMP® test takers have been posting queries to our discussion forum regarding the difference between Perform Quality Assurance and Control Quality Processes of Project Quality Management Knowledge Area. Since this is a crucial topic from PMP® exam point of view, I am offering a detailed perspective on both the processes in the blog today.

Let us understand the basics, i.e. what are these two processes actually.

PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition  defines Perform Quality Assurance processes as

“The process of auditing the quality requirements and the results from quality control measurements to ensure that appropriate quality standards and operational definitions are used.”

As the definition states, the process ensure that the project team is using appropriate quality standards and operational definitions while doing the project work. While doing quality planning based on project quality requirements, project team comes up with a quality management plan.  This plan also recommends what steps or procedure, we need to follow to ensure that we produce quality deliverables. The Perform Quality Assurance process ensures that the team follows what has been agreed in the quality management plan,   this process makes sure we build quality in. In other words, the process audits the way team is doing the work and analyzes the defect trends and recommend corrective and preventive actions.

Example Activities of Perform Quality Assurance Process

  1. Auditing how the engineering activities are performed, check them against the defined standards, if standards are not followed point them out.
  2. Analyzing defect data generated from Quality Control and performs analysis to identify which process needs to be changed so as to reduce the occurrence of such defects in the future, raising change request to implement the suggested process changes.
  3. Analyze effectiveness of quality plans and checklists and suggest changes in them by way of change requests.
Perform Quality AssuranceControl Quality
It’s an Executing Process Group process, so it gets executed when we are executing the project management planIt’s a Monitoring and Controlling Process Group Process, so it uses the deliverables and data generated by executing process groups and compare them against the project management plan
The focus of this process is to ensure that team follows the quality management plan and produces the quality outputThe focus of this process is to verify the output of Direct and manage project work (deliverable) for its adherence to project management plan (baselines)
This process uses tools like auditing to check how the team is complying the quality management planThe process uses inspection as a tool to check how the output of executing process (deliverable) is adhering to the project management plan
This helps in building quality in the productThis helps in detecting defects left by executing a process so they do not reach to customers
The primary output of this process is change requests , these change requests focuses on the changes that need to be made in the quality management plan or executing processes so as to produce better quality products and prevent defectsThe process produces many important outputs, for instance, it produces verified deliverables, which are further sent to customer for validation It also produces change request, primarily for the defects found in deliverables Since it’s a Monitoring and Controlling process group process it also produces a work Performance Information
The primary inputs for this process come from the quality management plan and the observations noted by the Control Quality Process. This process takes Quality control measurement into account while analyzing the execution process.The primary input for this process is the deliverable which needs to be tested against the project management plan
Perform Quality Assurance is our first line of defense against producing non compliant productControl Quality is our second line of defense which checks the product to verify is it good to deliver to the customer

PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition defines Control Quality processes as

“The process of monitoring and recording results of executing the quality activities to assess performance and recommend necessary changes.”

As the definition states, the process is about executing the quality activities to assess the performance of deliverables produced by the project team. This process is a second line of defense to ensure that the customer does not get the non compliant products. Control quality process looks at the deliverable and mark it verified if it is line with the project management plan, else it raises the change request in the form of a defect.

Example Activities of Control Quality Process

  1. Verifying the deliverable against the baseline project management plan (scope baseline) by way of executing verification steps, for instance, if it’s a software project, executing test cases to verify the behavior of the system
  2. Documenting the details of defects / issues found during verification in such a manner that the product development team gets sufficient details to apply corrective and preventive actions.
  3. Raising defects in the form of the change request

 

Let us study an example to get more clear perspective.

Project- Develop software for tracking traffic information

First, you will do the planning you will plan how to ensure adherence to quality requirements. While you work on the deliverables, you will also put quality assurance processes in place to ensure that the quality procedures and steps are followed as expected. The assurance process may involve frequent audits, recommending changes in the development processes and training staff so they produce better deliverables. Once your deliverables are ready, like even if one module is ready, the Quality Control comes into the picture and the team will be looking finished deliverable and inspecting it for its conformance to project’s baselines.  If any issues are found, they raise defects. The deliverables which looks good to the QC team are sent for customer acceptance testing.

To conclude, we can treat Perform Quality Assurance as a continuous guiding process which keeps reminding us to follow quality procedures to produce quality outputs while Quality Control is like a controller or a tester which asks the project team to show what they have produced and verifies whether it is good to go to the customer or not.

I hope this blog has sufficiently answered your all queries related to Quality Assurance and Quality control and how these two processes are different from one another. Good Luck with your PMP® Certification Exam.

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