Quality VS Grade – What is the Difference?

There are certain types of energy saving bulbs being sold in electrical shops today. Some of these bulbs when tested at the shop may be seen to work fine, but when put to use, the bulb may cease to function after 2 weeks. This common occurrence has led many to rue purchasing items from certain locations or manufacturers. In our everyday life we are often faced with a choice between items. We are, in most cases, attracted to products more by its quality than by its performance. The performance of a product, its life span, and how tough the product is when some pressure is applied is equally important to consumers and this concept is called grade.


According to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, PMBOK 5th Edition defines, Quality as delivered performance or result is “the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfil requirements” (ISO 9000).Oxford language dictionaries defines, Quality is the standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something. Basically, quality is how good or bad a thing is when observed.


PMBOK 5th Edition defines, Grade as a design intent is a category assigned to deliverables having the same functional use but different technical characteristics.Oxford language dictionaries defines, Grade on the other hand is a particular level of rank, quality, proficiency, or value.

Some key differences between these two concepts of quality and grade are as follows:

1.It is more of an aesthetic featureIt is more of a performance feature
2.Quality may not directly determine the longevity of a products existenceGrade determines more the life span of a product
3.Quality does not determine what a product can doGrade determines what a product can do
4.Quality can be easily observed without testingGrade can hardly be seen at first glance, you, need to carry out tests on the product
5.Low quality product is not acceptableLow grade product can be acceptable


This concept of quality and grade is what necessitates the specification of concrete grades for concrete structures. Some major infrastructural projects such as concrete bridges and industrial equipment foundations require higher concrete strength than the basic 25 N/m2. The standard grades of concrete are M5, M7.5, M10, M15, M20, and M25. All other grades of concrete which are higher than 25 N/m2 are based on concrete mix design experiments.

In all, quality and grade are two different concepts which need equal attention. It is easier for us as individuals to observe the quality of a product; however, we have to carry out different tests to ascertain that a product will perform throughout its life span. They are equally important.


1 – PMBOK® Guide – Fifth Edition (Project Management Body of Knowledge)


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