Data Processing - A Software Quality Challenge

Article

Gryna, Derek S.   (1988, ASQC)   USF&G Insurance, Baltimore, MD

Annual Quality Congress, Dallas TX    Vol. 42    No. 0
QICID: 3457    May 1988    pp. 423-428
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Article Abstract

This paper will present concepts and applications of Software Quality Assurance (SQA) in a Data processing Service Industry environment. In detail, the paper will discuss methods used to control the quality and integrity of systems through a Software Quality Assurance Program.

An explanation regarding the need of software quality in service industries is to be included. I will highlight the use and importance of data accuracy in several service industries. Internal and external errors will be defined and the effects of these errors on the industry and the customer. In addition, the paper will define "data processing" and the omnipresent emphasis on the production of code without regards to quality.

In a production-oriented environment, implementation of a SQA Program is challenging. Responding to the challenge without upper-management's support has at times, seemed impossible. The approach or response to the challenge by the Quality Assurance Department and the gradual awareness of the need by Data Processing management will be explained. Issues to be discussed are: how the challenge began; proof of the need; the project by project approach; user/customer philosophy; and the benefits and results. I then will proceed to review each phase of the Software Development Life Cycle.

Phases covered are: Requirements Analysis, External/Preliminary Design, Internal/Detailed Design, Detailed Development, System Test, Data Management, Production/Implementation, and Maintenance. I will describe Software Quality Checklists used to review development during each life cycle phase. What to look for in the review; documentation of results; error identification; adequacy and completion of tasks; design controls; and user requirements are all phase dependent measures to be reviewed.

A special emphasis on design and data management methods and phases will demonstrate the significance of these activities. This emphasis will not detract from other phases, instead it will supplement the importance of activities in all phases.

The paper will demonstrate the continuity of SQA in service and manufacturing sectors. I will provide analysis displaying similarities of SQA concepts and procedures in each environment.

The paper will be complete in that actual examples of procedures/practices are discussed. I will stress not only what "should" be done, but "how" to meet the challenge and accomplish the objective.

Keywords

Electronic data systems


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