Quality Management Starts With Understanding the Customer’s Expectations

Quality Management Starts With Understanding the Customer’s Expectations

There are two main aspects of managing quality

on a project. It all starts with understanding the customer’s expectations for quality. You then need to put a plan in place to meet the customer’s expectations.

You cannot formally manage quality on a project if you don’t know the customer’s expectations. The easiest way to understand expectations is simply to ask. Quality requirements can be gathered at the same time you are gathering the rest of the functional and non-functional product requirements. The quality requirements may not always be stated on their own. Often they need to be gathered through specific questions and inquiry.

It is hard to define product or service quality at a high-level because the term “quality” is vague 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. Examples of quality characteristics include:

Product quality. The product is:

  • Reliable
  • Easy to use
  • Available when needed
  • Flexible for future needs
  • Intuitive / easy to understand
  • Minimally defective (doesn’t have to be perfect)
  • Responsive (good response time)

Service quality. The people are:

  • Responsive
  • Competent
  • Courteous
  • Credible
  • Knowledgeable of the customer
  • Reliable

These characteristics are still vague, but now you have some direction that you can use to probe further for more details.