Software Quality Professional Overview - June 2001 - ASQ

Software Quality Professional Overview - June 2001


How best to minimize the negative impact of software defects?

Jeff Tian, in "Quality Assurance Alternatives and Techniques: A Defect-Based Survey and Analysis," classifies common approaches as prevention, detection and removal, or containment. He then analyzes their relative cost, applicability, and effectiveness for various product types and environments. His goal is to provide practitioners with the means for sensibly selecting, tailoring, and integrating such quality assurance and improvement alternatives.

"Rapid Application Development: Project Management Issues to Consider" claims that the lack of management processes and commitment often short-circuit our best intentions and newest technologies. Patricia McQuaid surveys many of the important issues that project managers face in their dynamic environment and indicates necessary tools such as better data, synchronization of efforts, and replanning when crucial factors change. She characterizes mistakes and makes recommendations in each of these project dimensions: people, process, product, and technology.

Robert MacFarland offers his "Case Study of an Improvement Program Featuring Reviews and Inspections" based on experiences within a large multinational telecommunications company. Competitive pressures to reduce costs focused their efforts on reducing time to market and increasing the quality of software produced. The effective use of reviews and inspections was one of a number of initiatives chosen. The author emphasizes a number of innovations, such as peer review by local design centers, multinational process teams, accommodation to cultural differences, and the importance of supporting infrastructure and local champions.

"Resource Path Testing: A Framework for Design of System Testing," by Yasuharu Nishi, presents a systematic strategy concentrating on the resources that intercommunicate information and are needed for a system to work properly. Configuration testing and stress testing are particular applications for the procedures and tools he discusses. By identifying potential weak points in a system, this approach detects faults otherwise not usually identified.

James Cusick provides intriguing insights into our current professional practice by raising the question, "Software Engineering: Future or Oxymoron?" How do engineering principles—not to mention quality principles—enter into what many still believe to be the realm of artisans? Methods, process, and planning are offered as the essence of the engineering discipline. The most challenging systems of the future will demand sophisticated business model analysis, requirements management, design for usability, and will need to be built for evolution.

The Resource Reviews section offers the first in a series of reviews of a video curriculum. It also examines two books in depth, as well as providing shorter treatments of several other volumes.

Software Quality Professional

Taz Daughtrey
Lynchburg, Virginia

Associate Editors
Sue Carroll
Cary, North Carolina

Paul R. Croll
Computer Sciences Corporation
King George, Virginia

Beth Layman
Melbourne Beach, Florida

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

John Pustaver
SWQuality, Inc.
Sudbury, Massachusetts

William Tony

Kristen Johnson

Copy Editors
Leigh Ann Klaus
Kris McEachern

Cathy Schnackenberg

Graphic Designer
Mary Uttech

Digital Production Specialist
Jill Zimmerman

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