A Composite Model for Software Quality Assurance

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Figure 3: Defect removal efficiency

8. Process control-taking corrective action
The quantitative measurement of the QA process (compliance rating) and the measurement process (metrics) represent process compliance and process maturity. Statistically controlling these measurements helps the process owners to take corrective action when these measurements cross control limits. Corrective actions are taken based on the detailed root-cause analysis of the out-of-control situation. The role of QA based on this composite model triggers the corrective action process. Figure 4 shows a typical process compliance rating chart based on data collected over a period. The Q shows that the process is out of control, as the compliance rating is less than the lower control limit (LCL) by 60 percent.

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Figure 4: Process compliance measure chart

A similar statistical approach is applied for metrics to control the maturity of the process.

9. Escalating
Escalation is an inevitable step in any project. Noncompliance with the process is overlooked many times, not only due to negligence but also due to other commercial priorities. Escalation is a process through which the process-owners and the business-leaders are made aware of the need for corrective action when the process gets out of control repeatedly. Escalation plays a vital role in low- and medium-maturity organizations, where the process is adhered to when it is comfortable to follow, but discarded when other priorities interfere. Here I would like to give a note of caution: escalation is a step that has to be taken with much care and with the right intentions; otherwise, it can create chaos within the organization, since many times escalation is considered as a complaint.

10. Adding to the knowledge base
One of the valuable assets of an organization is its past experience. Unless the data associated with each project is organized and preserved in a systematic manner, it is hard to retrieve such information when required in the future. QA can play a role in taking the initiative to identify such assets and preserve them for future use. Such data include the variations found to the original estimates, root causes identified for major variations to the acceptable limits, corrective actions taken, etc. For example, the effort associated with one project and the estimation-variation will help the organization do better estimation on future projects. This is a service QA can offer to the other groups within the organization. This QA service eventually results in process maturity.

Benefits of the Composite Model
This Composite Model provides the project management team a comfortable and confident working atmosphere as QA takes the role of monitoring and measuring the process. Such an in-depth involvement of QA enables it to foresee the risks that are likely to impact the progress and quality of the work. Raising warning signals at the right time helps the project management team to take action toward mitigating and handling risks.

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