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7 Basic Quality Planning Tools You Should Know for the PMP Certification Exam

PMP certification tools are not for dummies, but an article written on the For Dummies website by Cynthia Snyder suggests that, with the right explanation, anyone can grasp these seven quality control tools (the 7QC tools).

No. 1 – Cause and Effect Diagram

Any time you need to get to the heart of a problem, jot down (or type) the problem, defect, or error. Then list the possible contributing factors. If you need to get a more elaborate model, the Dummies website recommends the “fishbone” or Ishikawa diagram.

No. 2 – Flow Charts

Then there are flow charts. Need to understand a particular relationship between steps in a process? Chart it! This technique is best used in conjunction with documentation efforts or a process improvement project.

No. 3 – Check Sheets

A check sheet seems almost too simple to mention here. After all, we’re not dummies. Yet check sheets (or tally sheets), are proven to save time and eliminate error in all manner of office activities. What’s more, keeping a formal and detailed check sheet can form the basis of a histogram or Pareto chart.

No. 4 – Pareto Charts

Speaking of Pareto charts, ranking problems by occurrence or other such metric (check sheet) allows for the effective prioritization of tasks. The approach utilizes a vertical bar chart that creates a graphic display of events.

No. 5 – Histogram

A tool similar to the Pareto diagram is the histogram. A familiar fixture of software programs like Word and Excel, the histogram is a vertical bar chart arranged to show the shape and distribution of a given event (the event’s mean, median, and/or mode).

No. 6 – Control Charts

Control charts function in a manner implied by the word “control.” Is a process stable or predictable? Starting with a “centerline,” measurements are plotted within control limits that are +/- 3 standard deviations from the plan (or mean). Measurements that stray toward the control limit should be herded, sheep-like, back to the control line.

No. 7 – Scatterplot Diagram

Lastly, a scatterplot diagram is your best bet for displaying the relationship between two variables. Variable one (the control) is plotted as a line, with variable two charted in a scattered fashion around the line. The more closely plotted variable two is to the control line, the more strongly the two aspects are correlated.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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