Quality Planning - QI Toolbox - Minnesota Dept. of Health

Quality Planning

What is Quality Planning?
How to Conduct Quality Planning
More Information

What is Quality Planning?

The role of quality planning is to design a process that will be able to meet established goals under operating conditions.

Quality planning is a methodology which can be used when a situation exhibits one or more of the following characteristics:

  • A service has never existed before.
  • Customer requirements are not known
  • The existing service/process performance is not capable of meeting customer requirements
  • The service/process is ad hoc; extremely variable; never been well defined or worked on before as a whole
  • The environment is unstable, characterized by major market, technology or organizational change
  • Performance data does not exist or it would require excessive time/expense to collect data [1]

How to Conduct Quality Planning

Quality Planning Steps [1]

  • Identify customers, both external and internal
  • Determine customer needs
  • Develop service/product features that respond to customer needs
  • Establish quality goals that meet the needs of customers and suppliers alike, and do so at a minimum combined cost
  • Develop a process that can produce the needed service/product features
  • Prove process capability—prove that the process can meet the quality goals under operating conditions

Quality Planning Cycle [1]

Quality Planning Cycle

Quality Planning Tools [1]

Tool Purpose When to Use
Force Field Analysis Identify and distinguish between forces that support and hinder an issue or process factors affecting a process/product When wanting to reinforce positive factors and/or reduce negative factors
Affinity Diagram Group similar ideas together to make sense of a large or complex process After brainstorming; a useful "low tech" way of grouping customer needs
Interrelationship Digraph Identify cause and effect patterns, analyze customer needs, and determine key drivers of satisfaction With an affinity diagram exercise
Failure Mode Effect Analysis Identify all possible errors and defects in a process/product/service end of design phase to determine back-up plans and controls When designing or redesigning a process/product/service; use toward
Customer Needs Matrix Useful for grouping customer's needs by category, object, step, etc. Helps carry customer needs information through the process design

The Juran Trilogy

Quality Planning is often associated with the Quality Trilogy, also known as the Juran Trilogy, named after Joseph Juran. The Juran Trilogy consists of three primary managerial processes to manage quality within an organization – quality planning, quality control and quality improvement.

  • Quality Planning provides a system that is capable of meeting quality standards
  • Quality Control is used to determine when corrective action is required
  • Quality Improvement seeks better ways of doing things

Quality Planning Diagram

More Information

Improving the Quality of Planning Processes (PDF)
National Network of Public Health Institutes: MLC 2010 Open Forum


  1. Call L, Gizzi C, Mason M. (2011). Using Quality Planning in Public Health to Improve Results. National Network of Public Health Institutes: MLC Topical Brief.
  2. Juran J. (1986). The Quality Trilogy. Quality Progress.