PMP Exam Tip: Understanding Cost of Quality

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The cost of quality (COQ) as it relates to project management is frequently misunderstood. It is a monetary figure but it does not solely relate to how much it will cost to provide a quality product or service through the project as most people initially believe.

Instead, COQ is also about the costs that will be involved to bring a product or service that is considered sub-standard up to the standards as they are described. This concept isn’t limited to only the duration of the specific project either. It also takes into consideration costs that occur after the project has ended, such as product returns, recall campaigns and warranty claims. So the complete product life-cycle (not just the project life-cycle) is included when figuring out COQ. The overall cost of quality is reviewed as part of the project to make decisions on how much will be invested in quality.

There are two main categories within the COQ definition. They are the cost of conformance, which is the money spent to avoid problems, and the cost of nonconformance, which is the money spent because of the problems that occurred. We’ll look at those in our next tips.
Until Next Time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP
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