What does "quality" mean in the context of my project and what is the project manager supposed to do about it?
The term quality in the context of a project is used to denote any systematic process for assessing checking to see whether a product or service being developed is meeting specified requirements. But what does that mean in plain English—what are you as a project manager supposed to do?
First, you need to
define in the project plan what methods the development team will use to create the deliverables, and what reviews will be scheduled to judge the evolving deliverables against their requirements. This can take the form of design reviews conducted on a regular basis to monitor development work in process, and major project reviews at milestones where big pieces of the project should be coming together. Another quality mechanism on some project types is testing, which is the evaluation of the deliverable once it is reaching a functioning state. Planning for reviews and testing of any deliverable begins in the planning phase and evolves throughout the project.
The project manager's role in this process is to ensure that throughout the execution phase of the project, the deliverables stay on track toward meeting defined requirements. Establishing an appropriate review process is the first step. What reviews should the various deliverables get along the way? How will we review them for whether they meet their requirements and still support the goals of the project? Then, for any review, what attendees should be in each review meeting to get a thorough and objective assessment of the current quality of a deliverable? Similar review meetings can be used to review test results. In both cases, you can draw upon the functional organization stakeholders to participate in evaluation of the work.