The Rational Unified Process (RUP) defines "Quality" as: "The characteristics of an artifact that satisfies or exceeds a defined and accepted set of requirements, is assessed using defined and accepted measures and criteria, and is produced using a defined and accepted process." Clearly the authors of this definition had two dimensions in mind: The quality of the end product (as an outcome) and the quality of the workmanship that went into the process of its creation (as an input).
But perhaps the best explanation of the whole case is the following definition of Quality Grade: "A particular attribute of an item, product or service, that meets all minimum project requirements but that may be specified according to a class ranging from 'utility' (purely functional) to 'world class' (equal to the best of the best).
Tom Mochal, President of TenStep, Inc. takes a rather different view of Quality. He looks at it from the perspective of Cost versus Benefits, which is the rationale for discussing quality in the first place. In a recent "Tip of the Week" he said in part:
"The Cost of Quality
Building quality steps in the schedule adds a certain amount of effort and cost to the project. However, these incremental costs will be rewarded with shorter timelines and reduced costs throughout the life of the solution. Examples of the project cost of quality include: Deliverable reviews; Creation of the Quality Management Plan; Client approval; Testing; Quality control standards; Audits; Checklists; Quality Control and Quality Assurance Groups; and Gathering metrics.
The Benefits of Quality
The costs of quality must be weighed against the benefits of providing a quality solution. Whereas many of the costs of good quality show up in the project, many of its benefits, i.e. cost savings, show up over the entire life span of the solution. The benefits of quality include: Although an initial higher cost for a quality process, less rework means saved time and cost; Fewer defects means increased client satisfaction; Less rework means higher productivity; Less rework also means higher project team morale; Higher quality of the solution means fewer returns, less warranty work, fewer repairs, etc.; Higher quality over the life of the solution also means less support and maintenance costs and a happier client."
In short, if you spend more time and cost focusing on building a better quality product during the project, the long-term cost of operating and supporting that product may be dramatically reduced. That is to say nothing of reduced aggravation over stoppages, outages and failures, all of which can erode client satisfaction, the objective of the project in the first place.
20. Wideman Comparative Glossary of Project Management Terms v 5.5 [D04791] in RUP 2000.
21. Project Management Guidelines (Private BC Corporation), 1995
22. Tom Mochal's background: From 2002 to the present (2013) he is President of TenStep, Inc., a company focused on his unique project management methodology development, training and consulting. He is head of The TenStep Group, a network of TenStep branches supporting the TenStep process languages around the world.
23. The Cost and Benefits of Quality, January 9, 2013.