The type of project is small scale. It only includes research based on a topic, say selection of the best laptop, and involves only one individual working on the entire quality plan.

Is PDCA (Plan Do Check Act) or maybe Six sigma technique applicable for this type of projects?

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    Hi deepz, and welcome to PMSE! This question is quite difficult to answer as such ;) Could you please give some more details, for ex. quantify more precisely what means “small scale” (time, impacted personnel…), and qualify “research-based project”? It would also be easier if you stated your question precisely in the body of your post. Finally, please read the FAQ and make sure you're not asking for a broad list of possible approaches. Sorry for this, it takes a little effort to write good questions at first, but answers quality will pay off :)
    – MattiSG
    Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 18:33
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    What is your goal? That is, what are you trying to accomplish by using a Quality approach? Commented Sep 19, 2012 at 20:33
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    The question should be clarified before answers can be given that are useful to the community
    – Picarus
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 8:03
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    @Lunivore Re: edit, I agree removing “research-based” changes meaning, but “research-based” doesn't mean anything on its own.
    – MattiSG
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 10:32
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    @aclear16 project management methodology is different from quality management approach.
    – deepz
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 10:41

2 Answers 2


Given the example you gave, no quality management methodology can be applied.

Indeed, quality management is all about continuously improving the output quality (not only, but as an abstract overview, it is sufficient). This definition would itself need to be more properly defined regarding against which metric improvement would be measured, what is the output, what is quality…

These needed definitions and the continuous part are why you cannot have a fit: if your project delivers only once, there is no way you can measure a baseline output quality that you will try to improve upon.

To give some more details regarding PDCA, because putting PDCA and 6σ at the same level means your ideas are not so clear about both, and that PDCA is a good basis for understanding QM  :)

If you look even only at the PDCA illustration:

PDCA illustration

…or read a bit about PDCA, you'll notice that “PDCA” is actually an iterative approach, and that we talk about PDCA cycles. A one-shot delivery has no way to get its output and processes Checked so that they can be Acted upon by updating the Plan (processes definition) for Doing the actual delivery.

PDCA is a basic framework that formalizes what many spontaneously do with a systematic approach.

, on the other hand, is a strategy, i.e. a set of goals, methods, organizations and techniques, some of which are based on the PDCA cycle. And it would be overkill for any project of the kind you described, as it is designed for heavily industrialized and layered environments.

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    Thank you for your response and support. Your explanation is very nice and I have understood what to do. Thank you very much :)
    – deepz
    Commented Sep 20, 2012 at 10:44

Small sized research projects benefit from risk based quality management. Risk based quality management uses continuous identification of risks in a project for all activities that create risks during all the phases of the project.

It uses the process called identify, access, control, communicate and review the risks associated during the life cycle of the project. The risk mitigation strategy depends on the priorities set by the research team and the risk control threshold set by the team.

  • Thank you for your response. I wasn't more concerned about risk based quality management. But thanks anyways.
    – deepz
    Commented Oct 4, 2012 at 17:55

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