Know What Makes Quality Management Different From Project Management Today

Know What Makes Quality Management Different From Project Management Today

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Senior Executive Content
Updated on Dec 8, 2023 18:07 IST

The main between quality management and project management lies in their core objectives of processes and operational focus. Quality management revolves around ensuring adherence to set standards, continuous enhancement of product or service quality, and surpassing customer expectations. Conversely, project management centres on overseeing tasks, orchestrating resources, schedules, and stakeholders to successfully achieve specific project goals within defined constraints.


“The testers won’t break the system but the user who thinks the cd-rom drive as a drinks holder will.” – Cornelius Fichter

Quality management is one of the 10 project management knowledge areas of the PMBOK® guide. Project managers who are PMP certified plan, track and don’t just leave quality for the engineering team to handle. Project quality management is necessary for every phase of the project lifecycle where each internal and external member of the project team is involved. 

Managing quality is a continuous improvement process that works in the background to support the activities of a project. So the difference between project management and quality management lies in the extent of their individual approaches, where both meet at some point. 

Quality Management Vs Project Management

When you are going for PMP courses, you will be learning how quality management differs from project management and where they come together. So take a step back to know how the Project Management Institute theorises the terms project and quality in the PMBOK® Guide. 

The 4th edition of the PMBOK® Guide defines a project as “a temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique project service or result.” 

Whereas, quality is looked at as “the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfill requirements.”

Since quality is an elusive term, project managers distinguish it further by categorising the definition for the producer and customer. The consumer perceives quality as to whether the product is fit for use or not. On the other hand, the producer’s perception of quality comes from conforming to the standards which are specific to the quality requirements of the project. 

Then comes the different attributes clubbed under quality management in overall project management best practices. 

Processes in Quality Management 

If learn about quality management, you will find these three key processes.

  • Quality Planning – Starting with the project goal, defining deliverables and documenting them with requirements of quality
  • Quality Assurance – To validate if the quality plan is achievable, how the results will be quantifiable and to prevent defects early
  • Quality Control – Testing to see if the output at any stage of the project complies with the requirements and to identify and reduce defects, as a reactive measure

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Phases in Project Management 

Having understood the processes in quality management, let’s see the different phases of a project lifecycle in project management. You will further note that there are underlying areas of similarity between quality and project management. 

In fact, project managers have to see through it that the budget, scope and resources for the specific project should inherently determine the quality factor from the beginning of the project lifecycle. 


The Project Management Body of Knowledge defines five phases of an entire project lifecycle. 

  • Project Initiation – Turning an idea into a goal
  • Project Planning – Identifying tasks for the project scope by developing a schedule, budget, resources for the delivery of each, along with quality management, risk management, etc
  • Project Execution – Delegating tasks and keeping an open line of communication with stakeholders
  • Project Monitoring – Establishing performance metrics and tracking results that must align with the defined goal through variables including Cost Variance, Schedule Performance Index, Planned Value, etc
  • Project Closing – Finalising contracts, confirming the final budget, etc

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Key Differences Between Quality Management and Project Management

The project manager’s responsibility is broader in the task department as compared to the responsibilities of a quality manager. That is, project managers make sure the tasks are completed and every team member must report the progress. On the other hand, quality managers focus on improving the efficiency of each individual team member. 

The second difference between the two lies in collecting and/or using data. All processes and data collected are further evaluated for efficiency in quality management, whereas project management deals with gathering information. 

Here are some essential differences between quality and project management. 

Aspect Quality Management Project Management
Definition Ensures meeting standards and customer satisfaction Manages tasks, resources to achieve project goals
Primary Focus Conforming to standards, continuous improvement Task, schedule, resource management for project goals
Objective Meets quality requirements, exceeds customer needs Delivers project within constraints, meets goals
Processes Planning, Assurance, Control for quality Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring, Closing
Evaluation Assesses product quality, customer satisfaction Tracks project progress, adherence to goals
Role Responsibilities Improves team efficiency, maintains standards Oversees tasks, team progress, manages constraints
Data Utilization Collects data to enhance quality and processes Gathers information for project progress, decisions
Long-term perspective Aims for continuous quality improvement Focuses on achieving temporary project objectives


Now you can hopefully see that project management cannot function without quality management. These are two individual processes that a Project Management Professional studies. And, for modern businesses to operate effectively and offer the best customer satisfaction by ensuring quality, both must complement each other. 

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What is the difference between quality management and project management?

Quality management focuses on ensuring that a product or service meets specific standards and requirements, while project management encompasses the overall planning, execution, and control of a project to achieve its objectives.

How do project management and quality management intersect?

Project management and quality management intersect when it comes to planning and monitoring the quality aspects of a project. Project managers incorporate quality management practices to ensure that the project deliverables meet the required standards and fulfill customer expectations.

What are the key processes in quality management and project management?

The key processes in quality management include quality planning (defining quality requirements), quality assurance (validating the quality plan), and quality control (testing and identifying defects). In project management, the key processes involve project initiation, planning, execution, monitoring, and closing, with quality management integrated throughout these phases.

How does project management ensure adherence to project objectives and constraints?

Project management primarily focuses on delivering the project within defined constraints such as budget, time, scope, and resources. It ensures adherence to objectives through meticulous planning, effective execution, constant monitoring of progress, and making necessary adjustments. This is to maintain alignment with the project's goals and constraints.

Can you highlight the significance of Quality Assurance in the quality management process?

Quality Assurance within quality management holds paramount importance. It aims to validate the achievability of the quality plan, establish quantifiable results, and proactively prevent defects. This process acts as a crucial checkpoint to ensure that the project progresses in alignment with defined quality standards. THis helps in reducing the chances of errors and inefficiencies.

About the Author
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Senior Executive Content

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio