Software Quality Professional Overview - December 2000 - ASQ

Software Quality Professional Overview - December 2000


Welcome to our third year of publishing Software Quality Professional. If we are to continue to meet your needs we must hear from you, so please use the feedback form and let us know what you are thinking. The coming year of SQP will introduce features and make improvements as suggested by our subscribers. Make sure your voice is heard.

This issue begins with John Elliott addressing "Achieving Customer Satisfaction Using Evolutionary Processes (Members Only)." He shows how such satisfaction depends on a deep understanding of business needs and associated user requirements, as well as the ability to communicate those requirements to the system developer. In the end, customer satisfaction and confidence depend upon the level of system assurance offered throughout the system development life cycle. If requirements are not properly understood there are penalties in the form of poor customer-supplier relationships, unnecessary rework, and overruns in cost and time.

"Applying Quantitative Methods to Software Maintenance" is Ed Weller’s report on analysis of data from three years of software maintenance activities that led to meaningful indicators of quality, productivity, and predictability. His story is of measuring post-release support of an operating system to evaluate the impact of process changes, as well as to evaluate the performance of the team against some perceptions of their performance. Weller introduces the term “recidivism ratio” to describe incorrect fixes or fixes that resulted in new defects. He sees ample evidence that the “pay me now or pay me later” rule holds for software and concludes with lessons that should be applicable to others’ efforts, too.

Another experience-based contribution comes from Denis Meredith, who provides insights into "Managing with Metrics: Theory into Practice (Members Only)." The two-year project about which he reports saw an evolution in the project team’s efforts to use a variety of measures in order to provide insight and support decision making at various levels within the project. These measures began with cost and schedule concerns, evolved in midproject to metrics for project management and software development, as well as procurement and installation, and finally focused on production measurements. The author concludes with a six-step action plan for those putting project metrics into practice.

Defect prediction and management is the subject of "Closed-Loop Defect Removal Model Using Statistical Process Control (Members Only) " by Achamma Jose, Anju, and Pillai. Their model has facilitated prediction and detection of defects and provided signals of out-of-control situations during software development. Timely in-process actions can thus be planned and implemented based on these signals. Data from reviews and testing are being used to determine if defect removal goals are being reached and to project actual operational performance. Such insights have allowed projects to schedule and budget for appropriate appraisal activities including rereview of products and possible reconstitution of review teams.

POWER is an acronym for Predisposition, Outlook, Wherewithal, Evaluation, and Resources, a framework Carol Dekkers presents in "Unleash the POWER to Improve (Members Only)." Her view is that process improvement cannot “just happen” but requires initiative represented by a dedicated investment of time, energy, and human as well as other resources. She delineates the key success factors for organizational development that make it more likely that quality initiatives not fail or be abandoned.

Reviewed in this issue are Adaptive Systems Development, by James A. Highsmith III, and Programming Interviews Exposed, by John Mongan and Noah Suojanen. We would welcome more reviewers who wish to provide their insights on books, videos, instructional software, or other resources.

Software Quality Professional

Taz Daughtrey
Charlottesville, Virginia

Sue Carrol
SAS Institute
Cary, North Carolina

Paul R. Croll
Computer Sciences Corporation
King George, Virginia

Beth Layman
Melbourne Beach, Florida

Stanley H. Levinson
Framatome Technologies, Inc.
Lynchburg, Virginia

John Pustaver
SWQuality, Inc.
Sudbury, Massachusetts

William Tony

Kristen Johnson

Leigh Ann Klaus
Kris McEachern

Cathy Schnackenberg

Mary Uttech

Michael Andes
Jill Zimmerman

Michael Andes

Featured advertisers

ASQ is a global community of people passionate about quality, who use the tools, their ideas and expertise to make our world work better. ASQ: The Global Voice of Quality.