Grade and Quality Terms in Project Management

Grade and Quality

Grade and Quality
Grade and Quality

Grade and Quality Terms in Project Management

Grade and quality terms are widely used in project quality management as well as in our daily life. Most of the time we make comments about a product or a service related with it’s technical features and conformance to the requirements.

In our daily life, we say low-quality product, high-quality service, low-grade service etc.

When do we say “low”, do we refer a bad or an undesirable thing ?

They are different terms and they express different contents. They are widely used in project management and generally people don’t understand the difference between them. In business both terms indicate establishing or meeting standards but they are not synonymous.
In this article, we will discuss these terms in detail.


Quality is the degree to meet the customer’s or end-user’s requirements. In other words, quality is conformance to the product’s and customer’s requirements.

High quality product means the product that meets the quality requirements established in the production specification.

Within a project, project team is responsible for the quality of the product.


According to the PMBOK Guide, grade is a category assigned to deliverables having the same functional use but different technical characteristics.

According to this definition, the term “Grade” is related with the products technical features. In other words, products can be graded based on their technical configurations.

Example for Grade and Quality

Let’ s assume that you will buy a laptop computer for the project management office. There are two options to be selected.

The low grade option has limited features and capasity, it does not have bluetooth, camera and it’s micro processor is poor.

On the other hand, the high grade option has advanced capasity and features, it has camera, bluetooth and advanced micro processor.

But is the high grade option working properly ? Is the keyboard wacky ? Is the battery not charging?

If you buy a low quality laptop, you will have to answer these questions. Grade of the production is not related with it’s quality.

If you read the definitions of both concepts, you will see that there are many differences between them. Grade is directly related with the technical configuration of a product. As the technical configuration changes, grade of a product will change.

On the other hand, quality of a product is directly related with it’s conformance to the requirements.

Therefore grade of a product may be high but it’s conformance to the requirements may be low. On the other hand, a low-quality product can not be acceptable even if it’s grade is high.

Grade and Quality – Keystones

  • Low quality does not refer to a low grade product, high quality does not refer to a high grade product.
  • Grade is related with technical features. Therefore, a low grade product can be acceptable. However, quality is related with meeting the customer’s requirements. Threfore a low quality product can not be acceptable.


Grade and quality are very interesting concepts. They refer different meanings. Although it is not a difficult concept, most of the time people don’t understand the main differences between them. A product can be a low grade but it can meet the quality requirements. On the other hand it is possible that a high grade product may not meet the quality requirements. In other words, high grade does not imply high quality and low grade does not imply low quality.

In this article we make a clarification for these widely used quality terms. We hope that it will be useful for the PMP aspirants. Please note that this concept is very important for the PMP Certification Exam. You may encounter a few questions related with it.


[1] American Society for Quality, Glossary

See Also

Accuracy and Precision in Quality Management

Control Chart versus Run Chart in Quality Control

Pareto Chart (Pareto Analysis) in Quality Management


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