Typically, in large projects, you can find individuals holding a “Project Quality Manager” title. So who is the Project Quality Manager, when and why was his position created, and more importantly, what does he do?
The primary role of the Project Quality Manager is to devise, implement, and maintain the Quality Management Plan (also known as QMP) as well as to enforce on the technical level and through policies and guidelines on the business/managerial level.
History and Creation of the Role
The role of the Project Quality Manager was initially assumed by the Project Manager for all projects. As project management started taking over bigger organizations and Project Managers were assigned to larger projects, the varied responsibilities of the Project Manager were just too much to handle for only one person. Different roles were forked from the Project Manager responsibilities, including the Project Quality Manager (also referred to as the Quality Manager), the Project Risk Manager (also referred to as the Risk Manager), the Project Scheduler (also referred to as the Project Schedule Manager), etc… The Project Quality Manager, as well as all the other forked roles, report to the Project Manager, and, in some cases, report directly to the stakeholders, under the supervision of the Project Manager.
Note that in small projects and/or small companies the Project Manager role still embodies all the above mentioned roles, which probably explains why Project Managers in smaller companies are usually much more overwhelmed than their peers in bigger companies.
The main responsibilities of the Project Quality Manager are:
- Developing the Quality Management Plan: The Project Quality Manager develops the Quality Management Plan after consulting with the project manager and the stakeholders. Note that the former has to approve the final QMP.
- Maintaining the Quality Management Plan: The Project Quality Manager usually adjusts/modifies the initial Quality Management Plan as the project advances. Medium to major changes must be approved by the Project Manager.
- Ensuring conformance to the Quality Management Plan: The Project Quality Manager ensures throughout the project that the product/service to be delivered will meet the requirements in the Quality Management Plan. This often means that the Project Quality Manager has to do/manage technical tasks such as testing code. Additionally, the Project Quality Manager makes sure that the policies and processes (pertaining to quality) described in the QMP are respected.
- Reporting: The Project Quality Manager prepares technical reports (e.g. bug listing) that are used by team members to enhance the project, as well as non-technical reports that are elevated to management describing the current status of the project from a quality perspective.
- Escalating discrepancies: The Project Quality Manager escalates any (non-minor) non-conformance to the QMP to the Project Manager.
By looking at his list of responsibilities, we are able to conclude that the ideal Project Quality Manager is someone with a technical background, as well as moderate managerial skills.
Some Examples on What Can Be Included in the Quality Management Plan
The Quality Management Plan specifies the policies and the guidelines relating to the Quality Assurance/Quality Control (see the difference between QA and QC) of the project. Here are some examples of the requirements specified in the QMP:
- Adhering to international quality standards
- Complying with local as well as international laws and regulations
- Ensuring only high quality concrete is used (in the case of construction projects)
Current Job Market for Project Quality Managers
Salaries of Project Quality Managers (in 2010) range between $60,000 to $80,000 per year. These numbers are taken from the US job market. In most cases, Project Quality Managers are promoted (or assigned) into this position from within the company, usually on the advice of the Project Manager. Hence the prospects for those seeking jobs as Project Quality Managers are not high.
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