• Core concepts
  • Basics
  • Quality planning
  • Quality assurance
  • Quality review
  • Documents
  • Relation with processes

You must know and understand:

  • PRINCE2 apporach to quality
  • Customer's quality expectation
  • How PRINCE2 brings about quality
  • The documents related to Quality
The purpose of the Quality theme is to define and implement the means by which the project will create and verify products that are fit for purpose.


Quality is generally defined as the totality of features and inherent or assigned characteristics of a product, person, process, service and/or system that bear on its ability to show that it meets expectations or satisfies stated needs, requirements or specification.


The scope of a plan is the sum total of its products. It is defined by the product breakdown structure for the plan and its associated Product Descriptions.

Quality assurance

The term 'quality assurance' is used in two senses:

  1. As the function within an organization (or site or programme) that establishes and maintains the quality management system;
  2. As the activity of reviewing a project's organization, processes and/or products to assess independently whether quality requirements will be met.

Product quality

The PRINCE2 approach to quality is product based: it is product quality that counts. In order to deliver products that meet the quality expectations as stated above, it is necessary to have a good understanding and an adequate description of the products. The way to achieve this will be further dealt with in the Plans theme.

Without a sufficient understanding of products all kind of problems can arise, each with a potential negative impact on the business case:

  • problems in acceptance
  • rework;
  • lack of change control:
  • dissatisfied users.

PRINCE2 approach to quality

This approach is product based, and requires the following activities:

  1. Document all products in Product Descriptions, which contain the quality criteria that are used in establishing wether a product is fit for purpose;
  2. Define the quality methods that are to be used during the development and testing of a product;
  3. Implement and assure quality methods in the project.

Activities 1 & 2 will be dealt with in Quality planning, the third activity is a part of Quality assurance.

PRINCE2 focuses on product quality, not on process quality. A well defined production process does not guarantee products that will be satisfactory to the end user.


Quality in projects does not come about by chance, it is rather the outcome of a number of carefully taken steps. To achieve quality a number of steps should be taken, starting with the customer!

Customer's quality expectations

In quality it is the customer's quality expectations that are leading. These include:

  • The major quality requirements for the project product;
  • All standards and procedures to be applied in order to achieve the required quality, including the extend to which the quality system(s) of the customer and or supplier(s) are to be used.
  • All assessments that will help to prove the product conforms to the requirements.

The customer's quality expectations will be identified as soon as possible in the project (before execution starts), in the Starting up a Project process, and documented in the Project Product Description.

Defining acceptance criteria

A project can not be succesfully closed when the customer does not formally accept the products. To properly manage acceptance it is necessary to formulate a number of criteria to which products should conform, before acceptance is undertaken.

Often at the start of the project the products to be delivered are ill defined. Therefore PRINCE2 advises to refine the acceptance criteria during the Initiating a Project process.

When acceptance criteria have been approved they are subject to formal change management: when they have to be changed this will be treated as a formal request for change (see Issues).

The Quality Register

Quality is also about proving that the necessary steps have been taken to make a product "Fit for purpose". That is why PRINCE2 uses a Quality Register. This is a log of all test, reviews etc. that are performed on a product.

The Quality Register is opened during Initiating a Project and is maintained during the execution of the project.

Quality assurance

After quality planning it is up to the project to actually implement the intended approach. In quality assurance it is important to:

  • perform the planned tests and reviews;
  • document the results;
  • gain formal acceptance.
Documentation for quality

Quality is all about proving the necessary activities to make a product fit for purpose have indeed been performed.

It is for this reason that PRINCE2 advises to use a Quality Register. This is a register where all tests, reviews and other quality related efforts that have been performed for a product are documented.

Quality methods

There are two primary types of quality methods: in-process methods and appraisal methods.

Appraisal methods take two forms: testing and quality review.

  1. Testing is used when objective criteria can be applied to a product, e.g. a specific color must be displayed, a product must have a defined length (maybe with a tolerance) or a defined transaction speed must be reached.
  2. When however criteria can not be stated in a completely objective way we must take recourse to a different approach: review. Here we need the professional judgement of reviewers. The PRINCE2 Quality Review Technique presents a generic approach to reviewing, that can be applied to all kinds of products (including management products), and is especially, but not exclusively, usefull for paper based products such as designs, plans etc.
Quality review technique This technique is especially usefull to review all kind of documents (e.g. a test report, a PID, a design).

A review has three fases::

A review has a number of roles associated with it:

  • Chair: responsible for planning and managing the review, chairs the actual review meeting;
  • Presenter: the individual representing the products producers;
  • Reviewer: knowledgeable individuals who do the actual reviewing of the product;
  • Secretary: gives admin support to the Chair.
Prepare Review:
  • Planning;
  • Confirm product readiness;
  • Distribute copies;
  • Before the actual review meeting the product is reviewed against the
  • Product Description by the Reviewers;
  • List of findings supplied by Reviewers;
  • Minor errors (e.g. typo's) to be noted on the copy of the product;
  • All findings consolidated.

Review meeting:

  • Product introduction (Presenter);
  • Discuss major issues;
  • Work through the list of findings and agree on actions;
  • Review all actions;
  • Define end result of review:
    • Complete;
    • Conditionally complete (after actions carried out);
    • Incomplete (product needs work and a new review);
  • Close out and communicate results to relevant partie


  • Actions to be coordinated by Presenter;
  • Sign-off on actions by responsible individuals.
  • Product sign-off after all actions have been carried out;
  • Communicate results to interested parties;
  • Archive documents;
  • Request formal approval for product.)

For quality planning:

For quality assurance:

With Starting up a Project (SU)

  • In SU the customer's quality expectations and acceptance criteria are defined;
  • Quality requirements may influence the project approach and the selection of suppliers.

With Directing a Project (DP)

  • IN PB decisions quality is one of the In alle beslissingen van de Project Board is Kwaliteit één van de considerations.

With Initiating a Project (IP)

  • In IP the Product Descriptions are drafted;.
  • Thw Quality Registeris opened;
  • The Quality Management Strategy is drafted;
  • The Project Product Description, containing the customer's quality expectations and acceptance criteria may be reviewed and amended.

With Controlling a Stage (CS)

  • In Workpackages worden de Product Descriptions (met daarin de Kwaliteitscriteria) opgenomen.
  • Wanneer het nodig is worden aanvullende afspraken over kwaliteitswerk gemaakt.
Met Managing Product Delivery(MP)
  • Product Descriptions (containing quality criteria) are part of Work Packages;
  • In the activity "Execute a Work Package" actual testing is performed;
  • Test and reviews are recorded in the Quality Register.
With Managing a Stage Boundary (SB)
  • When planning a new stage the Quality Register is update with planned data for tests and reviews in the next stage;
  • Product Descriptions are drafted for new products. For products that have been identified earlier the PD's may be updated;
  • In the activity "Report Stage End" the products completed in the stage are reported. For this purpose a Product Status Account may be drafted.
Met Closing a Project (CP)
  • When closing a project acceptance records shoudl be available for all products. For this purpose a Product Status Account may be drafted.