From ISO and CMM Certification to TQM

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Summary:

Quality standards are a way to ensure that the product being developed is a well-engineered product. ISO 9001, the standard in the 9000 series that pertains to software development, identifies the minimal requirements for a quality system while the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) and Total Quality Management (TQM) are two approaches to continuous software process improvement that have attracted considerable interest. Moving from ISO to CMM to TQM would require effort at the organisational level.

Quality standards are a way to ensure that the product being developed is a well-engineered product. ISO 9001, the standard in the 9000 series that pertains to software development identifies the minimal requirements for a quality system while the Capability Maturity Model (CMM) and Total Quality Management (TQM) are two approaches to continuous software process improvement that have attracted considerable interest. All three of them are linked to each other in one way or another since the primary concern of each of them is quality, and moving from ISO to CMM to TQM would only imply enhanced effort at the organisational level studying the three approaches.

There is a high awareness of the importance of software process improvement activities and assuring software quality. Considerable efforts are being made in improving the software processes. The software process is a set of tools, methods and practices we use to produce a software product. This must be done in conformance to quality standards [1].

Assurance encompasses control beyond just inspection and testing. Quality Assurance (QA) requires structured approach to prevention of quality problems through planned and systematic activities. QA demands a Quality Management system (QMS) [2].

A QMS in the software industry may be implemented using various quality standards, which exists and vary from one another in several aspects. ISO 9001, the standard in the 9000 series that pertains to software development and maintenance; identifies minimal requirements for quality system, while CMM and TQM are two approaches to continuous software improvement.

Discussion
ISO Certification
The ISO 9000 Standards specify quality. System requirements are for use when a contract between two parties requires the demonstration of a supplier’s capability to design and supply a product.

9001 pertains to the software development and therefore ensures that the quality is guaranteed. ISO 9000-3 is the guidance for implementing the 20 ISO 9001 clauses [3].

The primary intent of QMS is to focus on delivery of the required quality of product or service, the clause 4.2 requires a quality plan to be developed and followed to ensure that the customer requirements are met [4]. The requirements need to be kept in mind during the entire SDLC, which compromises of 5 major stages: Requirements gathering, Analysis and Design, Implementation, Testing and Maintenance. There are specific clauses for each of these stages too. Clause 4.3 of contract review ensures the finalizing of requirements /functional specifications. Clause 4.4 gives detailed account for design and implementation. Clauses 4.10-4.14 all deal with testing, prevention, inspection and related aspects of software. Clause 4.9 of process controls ensure that the product and installation be planned and maintenance taken care of. Clause 4.15 also deals with maintenance and 4.19 deals with servicing. Clause 4.8 of product identification and traceability requires an organization to be able to identify a product through all of the above stages.

To ensure the applicability of the entire ISO Clauses, Clauses 4.5 and 4.16 require the organization documentation to be thorough and maintained. Which is a fundamental premise of ISO 9001. There are 7 other clauses in ISO amongst that is the first clause 4.1 of management responsibility that requires an organization to define, document and maintain a quality policy. ISO standards also include internal audit (4.17) training (4.18), purchasing standards (4.6) and control of customer supplier product (4.7).

The above clauses of ISO 9001 show that ISO is a tool that promotes quality system consistency and uniformity. Finally ISO 9001 bridges the technical and the social systems in an approachable method that the biggest or smallest company can implement.

Capability Maturity Model
The Capability Maturity Model (CMM) is a model

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About the author

Sarah Salahuddin's picture Sarah Salahuddin

Sarah Salahuddin is currently working as a software engineer at Cressoft, a leading software house in Pakistan. I have completed my BCS (Bachelor in Computer Science) from FAST Institute of Computer Science, Lahore.

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