The basic tenant of quality ensures that the project will satisfy the needs for which it was undertaken. This means that ultimately, quality is measured by your client. As tempting as it may be, it isn’t up to the project team to determine the level of quality that is required for the project. In order to meet quality, the team needs to fully understand the client’s requirements and more importantly, their expectations. Then the real trick is to meet all those expectations.
So, one of the most important facets of a project is to understand the characteristics of quality for your product or project. Then you put a plan into place to meet all the expectations. It is often difficult to define service quality at a high level, because the term quality can mean many different things to many different people.
In order to run a successful project, you have to take the time to define the lowest level characteristic of quality for each deliverable. To meet quality for the client, you have to truly understand each characteristic of what quality is going to mean.
For example, for product quality, you may need to define if the product is reliable, easy to use, flexible for future needs. For service quality, you need to establish if the people are responsive, competent at what they do, good communicators.
Of course, these characteristics are just examples and obviously can still be seen as vague, but they are some basic starting points that you can use during either the WBS or when you are developing your Epics. It helps start the conversation early on in the project and ensures that quality measures are built into the finished project. There should be no surprises when it comes to quality expectations if you have effectively communicated and continuously communicated with your client along the way. I have also found that templates provided by orgs such as PMI help in the breakdown discussions with clients as well, to really drill to the root of what they define as high quality for their project.