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Quality management

Quality is defined in terms of pertinent attributes of the specific project and any associated product(s), perhaps in both quantitative and qualitative terms. These quality characteristics will have been determined in the specification of detailed software requirements.

Thresholds for adherence to quality are set for each indicator as appropriate to stakeholder expectations for the software at hand. Procedures relating to ongoing SQA throughout the process and for product (deliverable) verification and validation are also specified at this stage (for example, technical reviews and inspections).

Plan management

How the project will be managed and how the plan will be managed must also be planned. Reporting, monitoring, and control of the project must fit the selected software engineering process and the realities of the project, and must be reflected in the various artifacts that will be used for managing it. But, in an environment where change is an expectation rather than a shock, it is vital that plans are themselves managed. This requires that adherence to plans be systematically directed, monitored, reviewed, reported, and, where appropriate, revised. Plans associated with other management-oriented support processes (for example, documentation, software configuration management, and problem resolution) also need to be managed in the same manner.

Software project enactment

The plans are then implemented, and the processes embodied in the plans are enacted. Throughout, there is a focus on adherence to the plans, with an overriding expectation that such adherence will lead to the successful satisfaction of stakeholder requirements and achievement of the project objectives. Fundamental to enactment are the ongoing management activities of measuring, monitoring, controlling, and reporting.

Implementation of plans

The project is initiated and the project activities are undertaken according to the schedule. In the process, resources are utilized (for example, personnel effort, funding) and deliverables are produced (for example, architectural design documents, test cases).

Supplier contract management

Prepare and execute agreements with suppliers, monitor supplier performance, and accept supplier products, incorporating them as appropriate.

Implementation of measurement process

The measurement process is enacted alongside the software project, ensuring that relevant and useful data are collected.

Monitor process

Adherence to the various plans is assessed continually and at predetermined intervals. Outputs and completion conditions for each task are analyzed. Deliverables are evaluated in terms of their required characteristics (for example, via reviews and audits). Effort expenditure, schedule adherence, and costs to date are investigated, and resource usage is examined. The project risk profile is revisited, and adherence to quality requirements is evaluated.

Measurement data are modeled and analyzed. Variance analysis based on the deviation of actual from expected outcomes and values is undertaken. This may be in the form of cost overruns, schedule slippage, and the like. Outlier identification and analysis of quality and other measurement data are performed (for example, defect density analysis). Risk exposure and leverage are recalculated, and decisions trees, simulations, and so on are rerun in the light of new data. These activities enable problem detection and exception identification based on exceeded thresholds. Outcomes are reported as needed and certainly where acceptable thresholds are surpassed.

Questions & Answers

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Source:  OpenStax, Software engineering. OpenStax CNX. Jul 29, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10790/1.1
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