Execute Quality Assurance Plan (QAP)
Managing project quality assures that a product or service under contract
meets the Client's quality requirements. Quality assurance (QA) is defined as
the evaluation of overall project performance on a regular basis to provide
confidence that the project will satisfy the relevant quality standards. The goal
of QA is to provide the Client with appropriate visibility into the "health" of the
contract, with respect to quality objectives.
A quality assurance plan (QAP) is a component of the purchase plan outlined
in the Develop Purchase Plan and Best Value Parameters topic of the
Prepare Project task in Process Step 2: Evaluate Sources. The purchase
plan provides the overall strategy for accomplishing and managing a
purchase. The QAP describes the strategy and methods the project will
deploy to ensure that the contract and its deliverables are on track to meeting
The QAP is an important component of delivery and performance
management because it is the shared understanding between the Client, the
Purchase/SCM Team, and the Supplier on both how to measure and monitor
quality and how to determine and implement corrective actions. By adhering
to the QAP, the project is one step closer to delivering the
highest-possible-quality result within available resources, schedule, and
The Client works closely with the Quality Assurance Team to carry out a
contract's QA activities. The Quality Assurance Team is often made up of
members of the Purchase/SCM Team and reports to the both the Client and
the Contracting Officer.
Each project should have some form of QAP. The complexity and formality of
the plan should be scaled according to the size and potential risk of the
project. The Quality Assurance Team drafts the QAP and submits it to the
Client for review and approval.
The QAP addresses both key project processes and project deliverables. The
QAP establishes clear and specific criteria for defining quality at each key
checkpoint and for each deliverable. The QAP should include a surveillance
schedule and clearly stated surveillance method(s). Surveillance can range
from a one-time inspection of a product or service to periodic in-process
inspections of ongoing product or service delivery. It also clearly states review
method(s), the chain of reports, and plans for corrective actions.
Basic quality requirements are addressed in 4-1: General Terms and
Conditions. However, Clause 2-2: Quality Management Systems should be
included in supply or service contracts when the supplies or services being
purchased are extensive, complex, or unique and the Postal Service requires
that the Supplier maintain a quality management system. Clause 2-1:
Inspection and Acceptance may be included in contracts for supplies or
services; however, Clause 2-1 and Clause 2-2 should not be included in the
same contract. Clause 2-23: Reimbursement - Postal Service Testing must
be included when Clause 2-1 or Clause 2-2 are included in the contract.
Independent and regular evaluations of project performance provide the
confidence that the project is progressing in a satisfactory manner. These
reviews monitor the effectiveness of project processes and pinpoint project
risks. The Quality Assurance (QA) Team documents quality assurance
reviews using quality assurance reports to indicate status and make
recommendations. Because minimizing risk is an integral part of quality
management, the Contracting Officer, who is responsible for risk
management on the project, should ensure that risk management reviews
parallel quality assurance reporting intervals specified in the QAP.
Quality assurance reviews take place at the checkpoints cited in the QAP.
Reviews include separate interviews with the Client, Supplier, members of
the Purchase/SCM Team, and other project stakeholders. Evaluation criteria
and approval authority have been outlined in the QAP, which should be
revisited by the Quality Assurance Team with the review participants.
Upholding quality standards is a team effort. The Client, Supplier, and
Purchase/SCM Team share joint responsibility with the QA Team for
executing the QAP. Critical success factors to executing the QAP include:
• The Client, Supplier, and Purchase/SCM Team abide by
decision-making structures and processes for advising corrective
actions and implementing QA recommendations in a timely
• QA recommendations are addressed at the appropriate level.
• Involve independent QA staff early in the project; this will allow
time for them to develop project knowledge and prepare for an
integrated review process.
• Client and Purchase/SCM Team invite QA representation at key
meetings, site visits, and project activities.
• The Client and Purchase/SCM Team address points of risk
identified in QA reports in a timely manner, using the risk
management plan to assess risk trends and evaluate
recommendations and risk mitigation strategies.
• Respond quickly to implement QA recommendations or revise
• Maintain thorough and accurate documentation of all inputs and
outputs of the processes, reporting, tracking, recommendations,
and corrective action activities
• QA review should help channel communications among the
Client, the Purchase/SCM Team, and the Suppliers. A three-way
feedback mechanism will alert participants to early signs of risks
and avoid costly corrections later in the project.
• Document lessons learned to use for reviews on the Postal
Service intranet knowledge site.
Manage Risks topic, Decide on Make vs. Buy task, Process Step 1: Identify
Develop Purchase Plan and Best Value Parameters topic, Prepare Project
task, Process Step 2: Evaluate Sources
Consider Performance-Based Contracting Arrangements topic, Develop
Sourcing Strategy, Process Step 2: Evaluate Sources
Acceptance topic, Complete Delivery task, Process Step 4: Deliver and
Clause 2-1: Inspection and Acceptance
Clause 2-2: Quality Management System
Clause 2-23: Reimbursement - Postal Service Testing
Clause 4-1: General Terms and Conditions