Perform Quality Control Tools and Techniques

The tools and techniques in the Perform Quality Control process are as follows:

■ Cause-and-effect diagram

■ Control charts

■ Flowcharting

■ Scatter diagram

Statistical sampling Inspection

Approved change requests review

The first seven Perform Quality Control tools and techniques are collectively known as Ishikawa's seven basic tools of quality. We talked about the fishbone diagram (a cause-and-effect diagram), also known as the Ishikawa diagram, in Chapter 6, "Risk Planning." You recall that the fishbone diagram is used to help determine root causes. Kaoru Ishikawa is not known only for the fishbone diagram, he was also a significant contributor in the realm of quality.

The primary purpose of each of these tools is to examine the product, service, or result as well as the project processes for conformity to standards. If the results fall within the tolerance range specified, the results are acceptable. Alternatively, if the results fall within the control limits set for the product (as defined by the various tools and techniques I'll discuss in the following sections), the process you are examining is said to be in control. Spend time understanding these tools and techniques and their individual uses because you might see exam questions about each of them.

I talked about cause-and-effect diagrams as a diagramming technique in the Risk Identification process in Chapter 6. This technique helps identify root causes. If you need a refresher, refer to Figure 6.2 in that chapter.

I also discussed flowcharts in the same section of Chapter 6. Flowcharts are diagrams that show the logical steps that must be performed in order to accomplish an objective. They can also show how the individual elements of a system interrelate. Flowcharting can help identify where quality problems might occur on the project and how problems happen. This is important because it gives the project team the opportunity to develop alternative approaches for dealing with anticipated quality problems identified with this tool and technique. Refer to Figure 6.3.

Histograms are typically bar charts that depict the distribution of variables over time. Chapter 7, "Planning Project Resources," contains an example histogram. In Perform Quality Control, the histogram usually depicts the attributes of the problem or situation. (I'll discuss attributes shortly.)

We will look at the other tools and techniques in more detail in the following sections.

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