Quality vs Grade

Difference between Quality and Grade in Project Quality Management

Quality and grade are often confused, and mistaken to mean the same thing, but they don’t.

Quality

Quality is the degree to which a deliverable meets the requirements.

Grade

Grade is a category assigned to a product or a service that has the same functional use but different technical characteristics.

Quality vs Grade

  • Low grade may not be a problem, but low quality is almost always a problem.

  • High quality doesn’t necessarily mean high grade.

  • The project management team manages the trade-off between quality and grade based on the project requirements.

  • Higher grade products are usually more expensive than lower grade ones.

Examples

  1. 24 carat gold is higher grade than 22 carat gold. Ornaments made of either grade can be of high quality.

  2. A software application may be of good quality (no defects, good performance, meet the requirements), but low grade (limited features).

  3. iPhone Xs base model is priced at $999. It is Apple’s flagship smartphone and equipped with some of the most technologically advanced features in the market. It is high grade (feature rich). Now compare this with iPhone Xr, which is pitched as an affordable phone for cost conscious people, and priced at $749. It has an LCD screen compared to the more advanced OLED screen of the Xs. While both screens have similar functions, the OLED has a much sharper and brighter display. Comparatively, iPhone Xs is higher grade than iPhone Xr. However, both products are expected to be high quality regardless of their price difference.

  4. You can buy different grades of gasoline (petrol) at the gas station (petrol pump). They are usually produced with the same quality but have different characteristics (octane rating).

Exercise

Which of the following statements are true?

  1. Low quality usually means low grade.

  2. Low grade usually means low quality.

  3. High quality usually means high grade.

  4. High grade usually means high quality.

Answers:

None of the above are true.

Last updated: September 15, 2018