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Planning and Preparation for SQA and Internal audits

November 5th, 2009 Comments off

The SQA / Internal audits should be planned very carefully to check or verify all of the software engineering, management, quality assurance processes and all of their products. The most common management processes would include project management process, status reporting, configuration management etc.

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Types of Defects

July 28th, 2009 Comments off

Defects are primarly classified into Product Defects and Process Defects:

Product Defects: Product Defects are the defects that are introduced and detected during the various stages of software development life cycle. While the defects get introduced during the various activities of the phase, the detection occurs during reviews and various types of testing efforts.

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Configuration Audits and Checklist

June 2nd, 2009 1 comment

Configuration audits provide a mechanism for determining the degree to which the current state of the system is consistent with the latest baseline and documentation. They provide greater visibility into the status of a project by evaluating the status of the items. They also determine the traceability from requirements and CRs to the implementation by investigating the baselines and changes to the baselines.

SCM activities are constantly carried out during the development or major enhancement cycle of a product. Configuration items are identified, baselines are established and changes to baselined items are carried out in a formal way. The status accounting provides the information of the SCM activities that have been carried out. When the product the ready for release / delivery, it is necessary to establish that the software product has been build in accordance with the requirements including the approved CRs. In other words, we perform a formal review to verify that the product being delivered will work as advertised, promoted or in any way promised to the customers.

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Configuration audits provide such a review. They are not the same as quality audits or product tests. However, they use the information available as an outcome of the quality audits and testing along with the configuration status accounting information, to provide assurance that what was required has been build. Configuration audits are typically performed at the time of delivery and major upgrades to the software.

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Ensuring Quality

May 2nd, 2009 Comments off

In many companies, software quality assurance is considered synonymous with software integration and system testing. This is quite erroneous. Although testing is part of the quality assurance process, it is, arguably, one of the less important parts. The philosophical rationale behind this assertion is that quality must be built in to the system and ensured throughout the entire project lifecycle. If done perfectly, there would be no need to test software at the end of the development cycle, since it would have no defects by that stage. Of course, flawless software systems remain more of a dream than a reality. Hence, practically speaking, testing is an indispensable part of the quality assurance process.

The purpose of software quality assurance is to ensure that:

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Phase End Audit Checklist

April 22nd, 2009 Comments off

Phase End Audit: Done at every phase end such as Requirement Analysis, Design, Code and Test phases for development projects.

Checklist for Phase End Audit:

1. Are the NCRs of the previous Audits closed?

2. Have requirements been elicited, prioritized and validated?

3. Have the Client approved to the FSD / Design / relevant phase work products?

4. Is size and efforts were estimated after the FSD was approved?

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Components of Software Development Processes

April 13th, 2009 Comments off

Software quality assurance includes four essential components of software development processes:

- Software Quality
- Quality of the procedures
- The documentation
- Software data

1. The source code / computer program is needed because they activate the computer to perform the required applications.

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Role of the audit checklist for Quality Management System

November 27th, 2008 Comments off

Need for checklists:

In looking at current auditing standards, ISO 19011 makes reference to “Preparing work documents” in Clause 6.4.3. The following is an extract from this clause:

“The audit team members should review information relevant to their audit assignment and prepare work documents as necessary for reference and for recording audit proceedings. Such documents may include

  • Checklists and audit sampling plans, and
  • Forms for recording information, such as supporting evidence, audit findings and records of meetings.

The use of checklists and forms should not restrict the extent of audit activities, which can change as a result of information collected during the audit”

The use of audit checklists:
 
 

 

Whilst not always required in management system standards, audit checklists are just one tool available from the “auditors toolbox”. Many organizations will use them to ensure that the audit at a minimum will address the requirements as defined by the scope of the audit.

There can be different approaches audit for ISO 9001:2000. For example:

  • Audit from the organization’s Quality Management System to the ISO 9001:2000 requirements.
  • Use of checklist to audit from the requirements to the organization’s management system.

However, it is beneficial to audit from the organization’s quality management system up to the requirements. A checklist may be used to ensure that all relevant ISO 9001 requirements addressed.

Advantages of using audit checklists:
 
 

 

1. Checklists if developed for a specific audit and used correctly:

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  • Promote planning for the audit
  • Ensure a consistent audit approach.
  • Act as a sampling plan and time manager.
  • Serve as a memory aid. Provide a repository for notes collected during the audit process (audit field notes).

2. Audit checklists need to be developed to provide assistance to the audit process.

3. Auditors need to be trained in the use of a particular checklist and be shown how to use it to obtain maximum information by using good questioning techniques.

4. Checklists should assist an auditor to perform better during the audit process.

5. Checklists help to ensure that an audit is conducted in a systematic and comprehensive manner and that adequate evidence is obtained.

6. Checklists can provide structure and continuity to an audit and can ensure that the audit scope is being followed.

7. Checklists can provide a means of communication and a place to record data for use for future reference.

8. A completed checklist provides objective evidence that the audit was performed.

9. A checklist can provide a record that the QMS was examined.

10. Checklists can be used as an information base for planning future audits.

11. Checklists can be provided to the auditee ahead of the on-site audit.

Disadvantages of using audit checklists:

  1. The checklist can be seen as intimidating to the auditee.
  2. The focus of the checklist may be too narrow in scope to identify specific problem areas.
  3. Checklists are a tool to aid the auditor, but will be restrictive if used as the auditor’s only support mechanism.
  4. Checklists should not be a substitute for audit planning.
  5. An inexperienced auditor may not be able to clearly communicate what he/she is looking for, if they depend too heavily on a checklist to guide their questions.
  6. Poorly prepared checklists can slow down an audit due to duplication and repetition.
  7. Generic checklists, which do not reflect the specific organizational management system, may not add any value and may interfere with the audit.
  8. Narrow focused checklists minimize unique assessment questions / approach.

Conclusion: There are advantages and disadvantages in using audit checklists. It depends on many factors, including customer needs, time and cost restraints, auditor experience and sector scheme requirements. Auditors should assess the value of the checklist as an aid in audit process and consider its use as a functional tool.

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