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Quality Assurance

Every proposal promises quality. Why should the customer believe yours?

Ingredients

  • What is your plan for quality control and quality assurance?
  • Who is responsible for quality oversight?
  • What standard operating procedures will you put into place?
  • What standards you will use to assess and improve quality?
  • What is the role quality planning in each phase of the project?
  • How will the customer benefit from your approach to quality?
  • How will you perform inspection, sampling, and review?
  • What quality records will you keep?
  • How will you solicit and collect feedback?
  • What surveys will you conduct?
  • How will you use feedback to improve quality?
  • How will you collect and document lessons learned?
  • How will you measure success?
  • How will you define, measure, and address defects?
  • What indicators of quality problems will you look for and how you will monitor them?
  • How will your quality approach reduce the cost of rework, scrap, and failure and lower operational, support inventory, and material handling costs?
  • How will your quality approach improve response times and other performance metrics?
  • How will you achieve continuous improvement?

Approaches

When it is not a separate section of the proposal, it is often included under its own heading in the Management Plan.

You can incorporate formal methodologies for Quality Assurance into your response.  If you do not have any expertise with methodologies such as ISO 9000, Six Sigma, or the Capability Maturity Model, you should focus on inspection and validation of performance.  For example, deliverables should comply with a set of specifications, and be inspected to ensure compliance.  Your proposal should identify the standards and methods for performing inspections. Sampling may be used instead of inspecting every single item, but there should be some form of oversight of quality efforts. The proposal should also address how the inspections themselves will be verified and monitored.  

A Quality Control Plan should, at a minimum, address:

  • Who will inspect what?
  • How inspections will be conducted
  • The frequency of inspections
  • Who will oversee quality efforts?
  • What quality records will be kept? 

A typical quality plan might include self-inspections using a checklist, inspections performed by an on-site manager using a similar checklist, and periodic inspection of a random sample of completed checklists by someone outside the project to ensure compliance.  Quality Plans often include their own organization charts and roles/responsibilities tables.  Quality Plans also often include tables of performance standards, inspection types and frequency, and quality record keeping.  

Another common element of quality programs is to ensure that processes are documented and that this documentation is maintained.  If possible, you should include your process documentation (or at least a summary) in your proposal, to show the customer exactly what you will do, how and when you will measure and assess it, and how you will provide quality control.  If you do not have the process documentation to include in the proposal, then you should describe how you will prepare it, what it will address, which processes will be included, when it will be completed, and how it will be maintained.  Version control and configuration management are also important elements of quality assurance, especially with regards to your quality program documentation.

Strategies

In service proposals, customers want to know that they can trust you to perform as promised.  In product proposals, they want to know that there won’t be any defects.  

Everybody promises quality in their proposals.  Your quality plan should make your promises believable. When the RFP does not require a quality plan, providing one anyway can be a competitive advantage.
 


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