Project Quality Management Plan Key Items

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Most businesses find the project quality management plan (PQMP) as a significant technical challenge. It includes both projects undertaken on behalf of clients as well as internal projects. Because of the importance of the issue to your company and its clients, as well as the potential for disputes or litigation, it helps to adhere to these guidelines.

Retention and Documents

We organize this project quality management plan guidelines by various document categories, which maybe used by your company. The guidelines provide definitions of those categories to assist one in determining whether a particular document should be kept or not.

Because of the global nature of your company and its business, and the fact that methodology and terminology can differ, the implementation of the project quality management plan must require significant exercise of manager discretion. If, however, a document fits within one of the described categories, even if it is called something else, then one copy of the document must be retained pursuant to the Guidelines.

Documents must be retained during the evolution of any project quality management plan as an ordinary course of business. Upon project completion, all hard copy and electronic documents must be forwarded to the appropriate repository location.

With respect to electronic records, give consideration to whether the information stored in a format (media and software) can be retrieved over the life of the retention requirement.

To the extent that there were multiple copies of documents, either in paper form or electronic, keep only one copy of each document. Likewise, if your company created multiple drafts of a particular document leading up to the final document, only retain the final document. On the other hand, one copy of each periodic report, e.g., monthly project status report, must be retained.

The purpose however, is not to retain every piece of paper or electronic information ever created during the course of a project, but to retain the documentation which would allow your company to respond to client inquiries, or to show what company did on a particular project and that your company had complied with its obligations.

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It is important to recognize that simply because you contain the below categories in the project quality management plan does not mean that each category of document exists in the course of every project. If documents exist which correspond to the categories, then the documents should be retained.

In addition, your company may create documents which do not correspond to the categories. In that event, the person archiving with respect to whether the document should be retained must exercise discretion.

The purposes behind the project quality management plan should guide any exercise of discretion with respect to document retention.

The purposes behind these  PQMP Guidelines are essentially twofold. First, to enable your business to respond to any client request or issue after starting or completing the project. Second, in the event of a dispute, your business must be able to defend itself and prove what it did on the project and how it complied with its duties or obligations. Thus, if the document in question contributes to any of those purposes, it should be retained. If not, it can be disposed of.

The project quality management plan also lists a variety of communications, including correspondence and e-mails, which require the exercise of manager’s discretion with respect to the retention of a particular communication.

The vast majority of these types of communications probably need not be retained. However, the purposes behind the PQMP should guide the exercise of that manager’s discretion. If a letter or e-mail is irrelevant or duplicative of other material, then it need not be retained. If however, a letter or e-mail shows a customer instruction on how to address or not address a particular issue that affected the project, it should be retained.

Retention Duration

Documents, as defined in the category list below, must be retained for 7 years after project completion.

The document categories defined below were selected as being those most helpful to achieve your company's project quality management plan.

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Project Quality Management Plan

Your company develops and evolves each component of a PQMP over time based on the needs of the project and the level of risk that the your organization accepts. Components developed as part of the PQMP may include the following:

Project Scope: defines the boundaries and content of the project.

Communication Plan: identifies the standard meetings, reports, roles and responsibilities, and team contact list.

Work Breakdown Structure (WBS): provides a detailed decomposition of the project that organizes, defines, and graphically displays the total work to be accomplished to achieve the project objectives.

Project Estimates: the collection of documents that describe the project's characteristics and the estimated size, effort, duration, and staff required to complete a project, given project requirements, constraints, assumptions, and risks.

Resource Plan: addresses the project's resource needs.

QA Project Plan: documentation reflecting project performance in terms of meeting requirements and complying with client expectations.

Issue/Risk Management Plan: consists of the following components that together make up the process for managing issues, assumptions, and risks:

  • Issue Log - a list of questions that must be answered to complete the project successfully.
  • Risk Analysis Document - documents used to identify and prioritize risks or major obstacles to the success of the project.
  • Risk Assumptions - documents that describe the assumptions made for those questions that cannot be answered in a timely manner.
  • Contingency Plans - a plan in case a problem occurs in the project schedule or if priorities change.
  • Change Control Plan: consists of the following components that together make up the process for controlling changes to the scope, cost, effort estimate, and schedule of the project...
  1. Change Process - documentation regarding the process of systematically controlling changes to scope, schedule, and resources.
  2. Change Request - includes a description of the change, both current state and changed or desired state, who requested the change, who authorized the change, the request date, the completion date.
  3. Change Request Log - a file that contains a record of all of the change requests for one project or client engagement.
  4. Status Reports - information pertaining to the status of the project and reported on a regular basis to the client and/or to "Your Name Here" leadership.

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These documents indicate the approach to producing the deliverable or resolving the problem. The following documents fit in this category:

  • Acceptance Criteria
  • Resource Strategy
  • Maintenance and Development Standards
  • Packaging Guidelines
  • Testing Strategy


The original source for any of the documents listed below may be internal, customer, vendor/third party, or regulatory:

  • Presentations
  • Meeting Minutes
  • Signoffs and Approvals
  • Correspondence/Emails
  • Internal and External Memoranda

Validation and Implementation

  • Test Schedule Timeline for the Testing Phase of a project or engagement.
  • Test Evidence Results Documents showing the various levels of testing, i.e., baseline, manual inspection, unit, package, and interface, pre-merge, post-merge, user acceptance, etc.

Also included in this category are:

  • Test plans
  • Test Cases
  • Test Data
  • Test Scripts
  • Signoffs and Approvals

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  • Financial Plan (Finance Plan) for reporting revenue, expense, and staffing outlook to a Controller; procedures for submitting requests for payment; organizational standards to support the estimating, forecasting, budgeting, and tracking of project economics.
  • Client Invoices and Billing that are submitted to a customer for billing on a particular piece of business that was outlined in an agreement between two parties.
  • Budget Control and Profit and Loss Statements, outlooks, internal billing, and forecasts.


  • Contract - the agreement between two or more persons or parties relating to the project.
  • Amendments - changes or modifications to an existing contract, including any side letters, memorandum, and correspondence exchanged with the customer that could alter or change the contract.
  • Additional Service Agreements - a separate contract or agreement for additional services not contemplated by the original contract or agreement.
  • Cost Model Point of Sale - documentation regarding the cost model that was used in connection with the execution of the contract.
  • Negotiations/Sales Documentation - all formal proposals and/or related documentation created during the sales cycle for the relevant engagement, including, Requests for Proposal (RFP's) or Requests for Information and any responses.
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