A Quality Assurance Plan (QAP) is a document created by the project team, which if followed, will ensure the finished product meets all criteria making it the best possible quality product. The product should not only meet all customer requirements but also meet the business objectives and targets.
A QA plan is often called an AQP (Advanced Quality Plan) in the USA. And, in the US and European automotive industry, it is usually called APQP (Advanced Product Quality Plan).
Why “advanced”? Because what ISO 9001 and ISO 10005 call a “quality plan” is too basic for the needs of most companies, who need to go beyond these simple requirements to achieve their business objectives.
The Quality Assurance Plan In Detail
The Quality Assurance Plan (QAP), commonly using PDCA as its basis, provides the essential guidance, direction, and focus for use by the Quality Assurance team in monitoring, assessing, and reporting quality assurance (QA) activities associated with projects within your business. The purpose of QA within the context of a QAP is to provide executive and senior management with appropriate insight into the processes and products being used and developed.
To that end, QA will involve the review and auditing of project work products and activities by the QA team to verify that they comply with applicable standards and procedures. QA will further provide executive management, senior management, project-level management, and appropriate staff/line elements with the results of these reviews and audits.
A Typical QAP Outline
A typical example of a QAP document outline would be:
1. GENERAL INFORMATION
- Project overview
- Project references
- Points of contact
2. SCHEDULE OF TASKS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
3. SYSTEM DOCUMENTATION
- Documents by Phase
- Initiate Phase
- Define Phase
- Design Phase
- Build Phase
- Evaluate Phase
- Operation Phase
- Disciple for Documentation Standard Practices (SOPs)
4. REVIEW AND AUDIT
- Review Process
- Formal Review and Audits
- Lifecycle Review
- Informal Reviews
- Review and Audit Metrics
6. PROBLEM REPORTING AND CORRECTIVE ACTION
- Problem/Issue Documentation
- Report Metrics
8. PROJECT CONTROLS
- Product Controls
- Supplier Controls
10. RISK MANAGEMENT
Take a look at an example QAP here…
We’ve prepared a quality assurance plan document based on a real project with a client (with all identifying information removed) so you can see how it looks when implemented for real. Just hit the button to open the PDF:
A podcast episode about QC plans
You should also listen to this related episode of our podcast about quality control plans which covers the 3 types of QC plan in detail, including the product quality control plan, process control plan, and QC plan for new products being brought to market: