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Quality Principles

January 6th, 2009 Comments off

Q1. From a ______________ viewpoint, a defect is a product requirement that has not been met.

Q2. A procedure is a step-by-step method to ensure that _____________ are met.

Q3. Meeting requirements is ___________ view of quality.

Q4. Customer’s view of quality is referred to as ______________________.

Q5. A ___________ is the requirement that a product or process should fulfill.

Q6. Fit for use means that the product or service meets the customer needs, regardless of the _________ __________.

Q7. The organization policy states that all modules to be tested 100%. However the project team did only 70% testing in each of the modules. This is a type of ___________ quality gap.

Q8. The customer wanted an export and print facility on all screens, however the team provided the same only on some of the screens. This is a type of ______________ quality gap.

Q9. Closing the producer’s gap enables the IT function to provide its customers ____________ in what it can produce.

Q10. Many technical experts believe that _____________ inhibit their creativity.

Q11. It should take not more than 2 days to locate and fix an error in an application. This is a measure of the ________________ attribute of an application

Q12. Password should be more than 6 characters, should have at least one special character and should be changed every 2 months. This is a measure of the ________________ attribute of an application

Q13. The program prepared for a processing VISA card payments should also be useful when preparing an application which processes card payments for MasterCard. This is a measure of the ________________ attribute of an application

Q14. The application should be up 99.9% of the time doing its intended function. This is a measure of the ________________ attribute of an application

Q15. It takes 20 years to change a culture from an emphasis on _______________ to an emphasis on _______________.

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Q16. A major premise of a quality management environment is an emphasis on ____________ improvement.

Q17. ROI is achieved by increasing the ____________ and / or the _____________ costs of quality in order to reduce the _______________ cost such that the overall cost of quality is still less than what it would have been without implementing a quality program.

Q18. ___________ should be actively involved in the establishment of their own standards and procedures.

Q19. Six sigma means _______ defects per million opportunities

Q20. _______________ is defining current level of performance.

Q21. Comparing processes within the organization or with an external organization is _______________.

Q22. QC is defined as the processes or methods used to compare product quality to its stated ____________ and applicable ____________.

Q23. ________ is the responsibility of the unit producing the product, while QA is a _________ function.

Q24. It is possible to have QC without QA. T / F

Q25. The Juran trilogy is quality __________, quality ___________ and quality____________.

Q26. TQM is a process of _________ change.

Answers:

1. producer
2. standards
3. producers
4. fit for use
5. standard
6. product requirements
7. producers
8. customer
9. consistency
10. standards
11. maintainability
12. integrity
13. reusability
14. reliability
15. productivity, quality
16. continuous
17. prevention, appraisal, failure
18. workers
19. 3.4
20. baselining
21. benchmarking
22. requirements, standards
23. QC, staff
24. T
25. planning, control, improvement
26. controlled

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Causal Analysis Guidelines

January 3rd, 2009 1 comment

Causal Analysis is to find causes that you can treat rather than treating symptoms. It provides the real reason why things happen and allows focused change activity.

A root cause is the basic reason why something happens and can be quite distant from the original effect.

Sources of information for causal analysis: Causal Analysis are triggered through one or more of the following ways:
• Reviews / Testing
• Audits of the quality system/projects
• Management Review Meetings
• Maintaining the quality system and deviations sought
• Customer complaints
• Problems / issues encountered at the project and organizational levels.

The goals of causal analysis are:

- To identify critical problem areas in a systematic way.
- Investigate and determine the root cause(s) of the nonconformance and document the root cause(s)
- Determine a plan to eliminate the root cause(s) of the nonconformance, taking into consideration the magnitude of the problem and the risk involved

1. Identify Crtical problems: The individual or team that encounters the problems shall organize a brainstorming meeting to identify the causes for the problem(s). Participants at the meeting shall include the individual or team that encounters the problem(s), experts in the domain and representatives of the Quality team and the Defect Prevention Analyst of the project. The lists of problem areas are determined, based on their impact on the performance of the team.

2. Identify causes and root causes: During the meeting, the participants define (or redefine if necessary) the problem for a precise understanding. Following this, brainstorming shall identify the possible causes of the problem. The causes of the problem shall also be prioritized and root causes are identified after eliminating others, the root cause of the problem is then documented appropriately.

The defect prevention group analyzing the problem shall use a combination of one or more of the following to identify the critical problem, possible causes and root causes:

Pareto analysis to seek out the vital few causes / characteristics known to contribute to the problem(s). Pareto Analysis is used to prioritize and attack the various causes that contribute to the problem so that the effect of the action taken would result in substantial improvement. Pareto Analysis is extensively used where quantitative data is available.

Cause-and-Effect Diagram or “Fishbone” diagram to visualize, clarify, link, identify and classify possible causes of a problem. Using Cause and Effect Diagram, a root cause analysis (WHY-WHY analysis) is done which helps in taking appropriate corrective action, to prevent the recurrence of the root cause, in future. The Cause and Effect Analysis is a qualitative technique and requires the involvement of team members since brainstorming will be used in conjunction with this tool.

3. Identify Corrective action: The participants of the meeting propose and discuss possible mitigation methods or strategies to correct the problem as well as to prevent the problem from occurring in future.The participants shall also decide on responsibilities assigned for acting on the action items identified, along with any risk perceived and target date for closure. The action items are tracked to closure and follow-up takes place during subsequent meetings.

Performing Causal analysis and preventive actions across the Organization: Causal analysis and appropriate preventive actions are performed at the following levels across the organization:
• Project / Work Group
• Organization

Project Level: The scope of a causal analysis at a project level is to identify critical problem areas with respect to Defects and Issues.

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The project team members meet periodically to track the performance of the defects and issues along with the inputs given by the team members.

Based on the discussion, the team identifies, suitable intervals on a planned, as well as an event driven basis to perform causal analysis and determine suitable corrective actions and follow it up to closure. Causal analysis is performed at the end of a phase or once in a month, whichever is earlier. In cases where Phases overlap, Causal analysis for the current phase will be done before the start of the succeeding phase.

The team shall also track the effectiveness of such corrective actions periodically.
In order to support and prevent problems, the team shall initiate discussions and identify a suitable plan along with appropriate methods to prevent problems, as needed. The team shall also periodically, review the performance of such activities and identify suitable corrective actions.

Significant points resulting from these meetings shall be recorded and the minutes of meeting are circulated to all members of the project team. The Project Manager assigns responsibilities for any action items that arise and tracks the action items to closure. During project team meetings the entire project team shares their experiences with a view to identifying causes of problems that have occurred and to prevent known problems from recurring. Project Managers also use weekly project status reports to escalate problems to the department head.

The Project Managers shall also meet with the practice head / Delivery Head regularly. Project teams will also meet regularly at a periodicity defined in the project plan. These meetings discuss:

• Project progress
• Achievements of the project thus far
• Forthcoming project activities
• Distribution of responsibilities for forthcoming tasks

Workgroup Level: The heads of various workgroups shall schedule departmental meetings in order to

• Share information about departmental activities
• Share important and non-confidential news about happenings in the organization
• Address problems/Issues faced by the department as a whole.
• Identify and discuss relevant root causes
• Identify and follow-up appropriate corrective actions assigned

Departmental meetings shall serve as a forum for members of a department to share experiences and to discuss problems with a view to finding solutions and to prevent problems from recurring by discussions and causal analysis. One of the team members shall record significant points thrown-up during such meetings. The workgroup head shall assign responsibility for these action items and track the action items to closure.

Organizational Level: The heads of the various workgroups in the organization along-with the President, shall meet at regular intervals during SIR’s to discuss departmental issues and activities. These meetings will be held at least at monthly intervals and as required more frequently. During such meetings, the participants

• Discuss common issues and problems facing the work group.
• Share key information regarding work group activities.
• Attempt to resolve any pending inter-departmental interface problems.
• Discuss customer complaints of a critical nature affecting the entire organization.
• Share information regarding problems and preventive actions.

Minutes of the meetings shall be recorded and circulated to all participants. The workgroup head assigns responsibility for action items that are identified. The department heads, in turn, convey this information to the employees in the department during departmental meetings.

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Faulty Assumptions in Quality Engineering

December 31st, 2008 Comments off

Formal quality assurance principles / fundamentals are based on a number of precepts that are not a good fit for the realities of software development today. Below are six precepts among the most prevalent-and erroneous-in the field today:

Assumption 1: Quality Requirements Dictate the Schedule

Fact For most software systems, market forces and competition dictate the schedule.

Traditional development model cannot keep up with the demand for consumer software products or the rapidly changing technology that supports them. Today’s rich development environment and ready consumer market has sparked the imagination of an enormous number of entrepreneurs. Consequently, this market is incredibly competitive and volatile. Product delivery schedules are often based on a first-to-market strategy. This strategy is well expressed in this 1997 quote from Roger Sherman, director of testing at Microsoft Corporation:

Schedule is often thought to be the enemy of quality, but at Microsoft it is considered to be part of the quality of the product.

Assumption 2: Quality = Reliability

This equation is interpreted as “zero defects is a requirement for a high-quality product.”

Fact: Reliability is only one component of the quality of a product.

The commercial software market is not willing to pay for a zero defect product or a 100% reliable product.

Users don’t care about faults that don’t ever become bugs, and users will forgive most bugs if they can work around them, especially if the features are great and if the price is right. For example, in many business network environments in 1994 and 1995, users religiously saved their work before trying to print it. The reason: About one in four print jobs submitted to a certain type of printer using a particular software printer driver would lock up the user’s workstation and result in the loss of any unsaved work. Even though many thousands of users were affected, the bug was tolerated for many months because the effects could be limited to simply rebooting the user’s workstation occasionally.

Safety critical and mission-critical applications are the notable exceptions to this fact. Consumers are willing to pay for reliability when the consequences of a failure are potentially lethal. However, the makers of these critical software systems are faced with the same market pressures from competition and constantly changing technology as the consumer software makers.

Assumption 3: Users Know What They Want

Fact: User expectations are vague and general, not detailed and feature-specific. This situation is especially true for business software products. This phenomenon has led to something that we call feature bloat

For example, if you asked several banking customers if they would like to be able to pay their bills online, many would say yes. But that response does not help the designer determine what type of bills customers will want to pay or how much they will use any particular type of payment feature. Consequently, in a well-funded development project, it is common to see every conceivable feature being implemented.

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Assumption 4: The Requirements Will Be Correct

This fallacy assumes that designers can produce what the users want the first time, without actually building product or going through trial-and-error cycles.

Fact: Designers are commonly asked to design products using technology that is brand new and poorly understood. They are routinely asked to guess how the users will use the product, and they design the logic flow and interface based on those guesses.

Designers are people, and people evolve good designs through trial-and-error experimentation. Good requirements also evolve during development through trial-and-error experimentation. They are not written whole at the outset. A development process that does not allow sufficient time for design, test, and fix cycles will fail to produce the right product.

Assumption 5: Users Will Accept a Boring Product if the Features and Reliability Are Good.

Fact: To make an excellent product, we must consistently meet or exceed user expectations. For example, text-based Web browsers in cell phones have failed to captivate the consumer, even though they provide fast and efficient use of the slow data transmission rates inherent in the current cellular networks.

Software must be innovative in order to compete. The software leads the users to new accomplishments. Some examples of competitive innovations in the home consumer market include digital video editing, 3D animation, imaging, and video conferencing.

As corollaries of the preceding facts, the software must provide a competitive advantage to the business user and it must educate users.

Assumption 6: Product Maturity Is Required

Fact: Product maturity has little to do with the consumer’s buying decision. Price and availability are far more important considerations in most business scenarios.

The very mature premier high-end digital video creation software system has been supplanted by two new software editing systems that provide about 10 percent of the features it does, at 10 percent of the price. In addition, the new systems can be purchased and downloaded over the Internet, whereas the premier system cannot. We are also seeing this trend in large system software. The typical scenario involves dropping a massive, entrenched, expensive client/server system and replacing it with a lightweight, Web-based, database-driven application.

When analysis is performed on the current system, a frequent discovery is that the customers are paying for lots of features they are not using. Once the correct feature set has been determined, it can often be implemented quickly in a new Web-based application-where it can run very inexpensively.

Feature maturity is a far more important consideration than product maturity. As I have already pointed out, most consumers have realized that the latest release of software is not necessarily more reliable than the previous release. So product maturity is most often a myth. A mature product or system is typically overburdened by feature bloat.

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Defects in the context of quality engineering

December 29th, 2008 Comments off

For most software development organizations, ensuring quality means dealing with defects. Three generic ways to deal with defects include:

1) Defect Prevention
2) Defect Detection and removal
3) Defect Containment.

Defect prevention through error blocking or error source removal: These QA activities prevent certain types of faults from being injected into the software. Since errors are the missing or incorrect human actions that lead to the injection of faults into software systems, we can directly correct or block these actions, or remove the underlying causes for them. Therefore, defect prevention can be done in two generic ways:

- Eliminating certain error sources, such as eliminating ambiguities or correcting human misconceptions, which are the root causes for the errors.

- Faultprevention or blocking by directly correcting or blocking these missing or incorrect human actions. This group of techniques breaks the causal relation between error sources and faults through the use of certain tools and technologies, enforcement of certain process and product standards, etc.

Defect reduction through fault detection and removal: These QA alternatives detect and remove certain faults once they have been injected into the software systems. In fact, most traditional QA activities fall into this category. For example,

- Inspection directly detects and removes faults from the software code, design,
- Testing removes faults based on related failure observations during program execution etc.

Various other means, based on either static analyses or observations of dynamic executions, can be applied to reduce the number of faults in a software system.

We use defect detection and removal for the overall concept and activities related to what many people commonly call “debugging”.

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When specific activities related to “debugging” are involved, we point the specifics out using more precisely defined terms, including,

- Specific activities related to defect discovery, including testing, inspection, etc.
- Specific follow-up activities after defect discovery, including defect diagnosis, analysis, fixing, and re-verification.

Defect containment through failure prevention and containment: These containment measures focus on the failures by either containing them to local areas so that there are no global failures observable to users, or limiting the damage caused by software system failures. Therefore, defect containment can be done in two generic ways:

- Some QA alternatives, such as the use of fault-tolerance techniques, break the causal relation between faults and failures so that local faults will not cause global failures, thus “tolerating” these local faults.

- A related extension to fault-tolerance is containment measures to avoid catastrophic consequences, such as death, personal injury, and severe property or environmental damages, in case of failures. For example, failure containment for real-time control software used in nuclear reactors may include concrete walls to encircle and contain radioactive material in case of reactor melt-down due to software failures, in order to prevent damage to environment and people’s health.

Various QA alternatives and related techniques can be used in a concerted effort to effectively and efficiently deal with defects and assure software quality. In the process of dealing with defects, various direct defect measurements and other indirect quality measurements (used as quality indicators) might be taken, often forming a multi-dimensional measurement space referred to as quality profile. These measurement results need to be analyzed using various models to provide quality assessment and feedback to the overall software development process.

By extension, quality engineering can also be viewed as defect management. In addition to the execution of the planned QA activities, quality engineering also includes:

- quality planning before specific QA activities are carried out,
- measurement, analysis, and feedback to monitor and control the QA activities

In this respect, much of quality planning can be viewed as estimation and planning for anticipated defects. Much of the feedback is provided in terms of various defect related quality assessments and predictions.

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Disaster Recovery Plan

December 26th, 2008 Comments off

Disaster is any sudden or unplanned calamitous event that causes a significant disruption in information systems and /or telecommunications systems that affects the operation of an organization.

Disaster Recovery / Business Contingency These are commonly used terms to refer to the recovery of service following either a disaster or other actions which would disrupt business activity.

Recovery Plan is a documents used to define actions to be taken in the event of a disaster and reduce the number of decisions required during a stressful situation.

Business resumption is the process of restoring business activity to an acceptable level, and then to a normal level after an emergency event has disrupted normal operations.

Purpose and Scope: Many organizations now have installed very complicated on-line and diverse network systems. Organizations may have similar equipment and operating systems, they generally do not have the capacity to add a large number of users from another on-line environment to their systems even if the technical problems could be solved.

A trend is evolving to provide alternate sites near the central local systems where any additional equipment needed can be shipped in rapidly and critical on-line operations for the organization can be resumed in a reasonable time.

Redundancy in the communications network and a tie-in to the alternate site, or the ability to rapidly tie-in, is very important part of the disaster plan. Such type of site is called a cold backup site, as opposed to a hot backup site which contains all equipment necessary to start immediate operations.

DISASTER PLANNING PROCESS: In case of a disaster, a business should have a back-up for the following:

- Data file storage and retrieval
- Customer Services
- Communications and User Operations
- Hardware
- Software
- User operations
- Facilities for MIS and for users

A good and effective disaster recovery plan clearly identifies even the obvious details of how you will respond to disaster to ensure some of those details do not escape attention.

The aim of planning process should be:

- Assess existing vulnerabilities

- Implement disaster avoidance and prevention procedures

- Develop a comprehensive plan that will enable the organization to react appropriately and in a timely manner if disaster strikes

- Create an an awareness program to educate management and senior individuals who will be required to participate in the project

Preparing for a Disaster: This section contains the minimum steps necessary to prepare for a possible disaster and as preparation for implementing the recovery procedures. An important part of these procedures is ensuring that the off-site storage facility contains adequate and timely computer backup tapes and documentation for applications systems, operating systems, support packages, and operating procedures.

General Procedures: Responsibilities have been given for ensuring each of following actions have been taken and that any updating needed is continued.

- Maintaining and updating the disaster recovery plan.
- Ensuring that periodic scheduled rotation of backup media is being followed for the off-site storage facilities.
- Maintaining and periodically updating disaster recovery materials, specifically documentation and systems information, stored in the off-site areas.

Software Safeguards: Administrative software and data are secured by full backups each week and differential backups each weekday evening. The first backup of each month is retained for one year. Nightly differential backups are retained in Systems & Operations until the next full backup. A copy of the full backups is also stored in a safe deposit box. Backups are stored on 4mm DAT tapes and other compact media.

Recovery Procedures

Systems & Operations: In case of either a move to an alternate site, or a plan to continue operations at the main site, the following general steps must be taken:

- Determine the extent of the damage and if additional equipment and supplies are needed.

- Obtain approval for expenditure of funds to bring in any needed equipment and supplies.

- Notify local vendor marketing and/or service representatives if there is a need of immediate delivery of components to bring the computer systems to an operational level even in a degraded mode.

- If it is judged advisable, check with third-party vendors to see if a faster delivery schedule can be obtained.

- Notify vendor hardware support personnel that a priority should be placed on assistance to add and/or replace any additional components.

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- Notify vendor systems support personnel that help is needed immediately to begin procedures to restore systems software

- Order any additional electrical cables needed from suppliers.

- Rush order any supplies, forms, or media that may be needed.

- In addition to the general steps listed at the beginning of this section, the following additional major tasks must be followed in use of the alternate site:

1. Notify officials that an alternate site will be needed for an alternate facility.

2. Coordinate moving of equipment and support personnel into the alternate site with appropriate personnel.

3. Bring the recovery materials from the off-site storage to the alternate site.

4. As soon as the hardware is up to specifications to run the operating system, load software and run necessary tests.

5. Determine the priorities of the client software that need to be available and load these packages in order. These priorities often are a factor of the time of the month and semester when the disaster occurs.

6. Prepare backup materials and return these to the off-site storage area.

7. Set up operations in the alternate site.

8. Coordinate client activities to ensure the most critical jobs are being supported as needed.

9. As production begins, ensure that periodic backup procedures are being followed and materials are being placed in off-site storage periodically.

10. Work out plans to ensure all critical support will be phased in.

11. Keep administration and clients informed of the status, progress, and problems.

12. Coordinate the longer range plans with the administration, the alternate site officials, and staff for time of continuing support and ultimately restoring the Systems & Operations section.

Managing Recovery Procedures: A disaster recovery plan must do more than identify alternatives. It should identify how all members of a business organization should respond in the event of a disaster. This includes the following:

- Develop a clear chain of command. It should be clear whom employees need to go to if they see a problem.

- Establish a clear sense of individual responsibility. All employees should be trained to look for signs of disaster and to respond immediately when they see these.

Documenting Procedures and Training Employees: Documentation of the disaster recovery plan needs to be readily available to all employees. It should be:

- written out and frequently revised as the business and threats change;
- available on the business network;
- referred to frequently in the training and ongoing education of all employees.

Training should help build employee awareness of what disasters might look like as they begin. Also, employees need to be aware of how, in addition to notifying someone else, they might immediately respond. Training should include:

- practice exercises;
- clearly written documents but frequent instruction in identifying who is to be notified and how to respond to a disaster.

Testing the Disaster Recovery Plan: A disaster recovery plan is only as good as its ability to be put into action. You may want to consider the following kinds of tests of your plan to maintain its effectiveness:

- An initial comprehensive test of responses to several kinds of disasters
- Tests that simulate specific disasters, affecting one part of the network
- Tests that simulate worst-case scenarios, when the entire network is affected

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Inspection Roles, Participants and Process

December 24th, 2008 Comments off

Common Review Roles

Author / Producer: individual responsible for the work product, and for correcting any defects.

Moderator / Leader / Facilitator: ensures that the review process is followed, and that the other reviewers perform their responsibilities throughout the review process.

Recorder / Scribe: records and classifies all the defects/ issues at the meeting, and assists the moderator / leader/ facilitator in preparing any reports / minutes.

Reviewer / Inspector: identifies defects/ issues in the work product.

Inspection Participants: The number of participants in an inspection range from a minimum of three to a maximum of six. The minimum number of participants is derived from the required roles to be assigned. Having more than six participants does not increase the number of defects uncovered, but does increase the cost of effectiveness. Plainly stated, having more than six participants increases the cost per defect discovered to unacceptable levels.

The participants in an inspection are all assigned at least one role. The roles in an inspection are:

- The Moderator
- The Recorder
- The Author or Producer
- The Reader
- Inspectors

Out of these roles, moderator, recorder and the author or producer roles are required roles.

Each participant in an inspection is an inspector. Participants can fill multiple roles with two exceptions. The author can be neither the moderator nor the recorder. Likewise the moderator should not serve as recorder. The author must be free to listen to the comments as they are given and provide clarification if required. The recorder is extremely busy documenting the potential problems and recording the other required data.

Moderator: The moderator is responsible for ensuring the item to be inspected has met the entry criteria for inspection readiness. If these criteria are met the moderator plans the inspection. This involves selecting the other participants, arranging for meeting rooms, ensuring the inspection data package is prepared and distributed, and ensuring sufficient time for participant preparation. During the preparation phase, the moderator acts as mentor and coach to the participants ensuring that they are prepared. The moderator facilitates the Inspection Meeting, maintaining the inspection focus. The moderator follows up with the author to ensure all potential problems have been properly handled. When these items have been correctly disposed, the moderator ensures all of the required data has been recorded and signs off that the inspection is complete.

Recorder: The recorder is responsible for logging the potential defects during the Inspection Meeting. This should be done as rapidly as possible, ensuring the essence of each comment is recorded without logging them verbatim. The recorder also writes down the other data collected during the meeting. It is important the other participants remember the recorder is not a secretary, but an active participant. The recorder, along with the other participants, is responsible for eliminating duplicate comments.

Author or Producer: The author or producer submits their portion of a work product for inspection. Additionally, they provide the rest of the reference material that makes up the inspection package distributed to each inspector. The author assists the moderator in planning the inspection and also acts as an inspector during the preparation phase. During the Inspection Meeting the author answers questions about the work product and provides clarification as needed. The author is responsible for determining the validity and disposition of all issues recorded during the meeting. After obtaining the moderator’s concurrence, the author modifies the work product.

Reader: The reader is the participant responsible for leading the inspection team through the work product during the Inspection Meeting. The moderator may be the reader to help control the pace of the meeting. Alternatively, the recorder may be the reader to ensure all comments get logged quickly. The reader does not actually read the work product, but usually uses paraphrasing or some other technique to get through the work product without confusion. The reader is also responsible for determining the most logical way to present the work product during the meeting.

Each participant, (as an inspector) is responsible for objectively examining the work product for potential defects. To aid the inspectors, checklists are provided to focus their efforts. The items on the checklists are derived from data from previous inspections on this type of work product. To increase the inspector’s efficiency, inspectors may be assigned responsibility for certain portions of the work product or assigned an emphasis role. In the former, the inspector is responsible for finding all defects in the portion of the work product assigned. In the latter, the inspector is responsible for finding specific types of problems in the entire work product. In either case, an inspector may record any potential defect discovered even if it is outside their area of responsibility.

All participants should be trained in the inspection process. Additionally, the moderator should receive training in facilitating meetings and leading inspections.

Facilitation skills are critical to the success of peer reviews.

The critical skills for a peer review meetings are building, clarifying, reacting, and process behaviors. A facilitator must learn to help everyone to work together effectively as a team, reach consensus, and “synergize”. A facilitator must learn to manage the different personality types and how to manage dysfunctional behavior right the first time.

The Inspection Process: There are six phases in the inspection process. They are

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Inspection Planning
Inspection Overview – optional
Inspection Preparation
Inspection Meeting
Work Product Rework
Inspection Follow-up

A brief description of the activities in each phase is provided below. For the Inspection Planning phase, the moderator, in conjunction with the author, ensures the following activities occur:

- The work product is ready for inspection
- Inspectors are selected
- The inspection is scheduled and planned
- An inspection package is prepared and distributed
- The appropriate project quality assurance person is notified

The inspection package contains the material that the participants need to prepare for the inspection. The inspection package should include:

- Work product to be inspected
- Supporting documentation
- Checklists
- Inspection cover sheet to be completed

During planning, the inspectors’ preparation time is estimated. The recommended maximum inspection meeting time is two hours. An organization will determine their own preparation times based on the data collected during inspection meetings, but for an organization just starting there are guidelines. The time for participant preparation and the meeting time are about the same – for a two-hour meeting the preparation time is two hours per participant. Typical preparation rates for inspections are 4 – 8 pages per hour for documentation and 300 – 600 lines of code per hour. From these rates you can see that you don’t inspect a typical requirement specification in one meeting. The document must be “chunked” into logical pieces that can be completed within the planning guidelines.

The Inspection Overview is an optional phase. The moderator and author should determine the need for an Inspection Overview during the Inspection Planning phase. If the inspection under consideration is a normal review of a work product that is typically produced by the organization and the chosen inspectors are familiar with these types of work products and their background, an Inspection Overview is not required. However, if there are special circumstances or some unique aspect surrounding this inspection, the Inspection Overview is an opportunity for the moderator or author to provide the inspectors the information they need to ensure the success of the inspection. Examples of circumstances where an overview would be appropriate include a critical work product that will affect all downstream work products, unusual work product complexity, work product uses new or infrequently used technology, or the project is sufficiently small that inspectors must be drawn from outside the project. The Inspection Overview, if used, should not exceed the planned duration of the Inspection Meeting.

During the Inspection Preparation phase the inspectors individually get ready for the Inspection Meeting. Using the checklists and other reference material provided in the inspection package, they examine the work product ensuring that the item meets its requirements and adheres to the appropriate standards and conventions.

The checklists are crucial to the efficiency of inspections. The checklists allow the inspectors to look for defects typically found in the organization’s work products. These defects are determined historically from data collected during inspections and testing of similar work products. Checklists can be arranged by emphasis role. Emphasis roles allow the inspectors to focus on a specific aspect of the product under review and help further increase the efficiency of the inspection. Although any inspector can record any defect they find, they are only responsible for their assigned portion of the checklists. For example, errors made in requirement specifications are typically incorrect facts, omissions, inconsistencies, and ambiguities. Appropriate emphasis roles for a requirement document would be:

- Review for incorrect facts and ambiguities
- Review for omissions and inconsistencies (trace established)
- Review for testability

The moderator facilitates the Inspection Meeting. The reader leads the inspection team through the work product using an appropriate technique such as paragraph by paragraph, paraphrasing, or through scenarios. The recorder captures the defects identified during the inspection. The team, by consensus, classifies the captured defects by severity, type and cause. At the conclusion of the Inspection Meeting, the team determines the disposition of the work product by consensus.

It takes great skill on the part of the moderator to keep the meeting on track. It helps if the inspectors adhere to the following guidelines:

- Be prepared
- Review the product and not the author
- Raise issues, don’t resolve them
- Avoid discussions of style
- Avoid discussion about whether an issue raised is a problem

Because of the intensity of the inspection and because the participation of all inspectors is required for complete coverage of the work product, the Inspection Meeting should be canceled and rescheduled for any of the following reasons:

- Key inspector missing Lack of preparation by any inspector (preparation time recorded at start of meeting)Defect with large impact found (enough rework to dramatically change the work product)Ineffective inspection process (defect detection rate much less than expected).

During the Work Product Rework phase, the author resolves all potential defects. Resolution can take one of three forms. One, the defect in the work product is corrected. Two, the correction of the defect is deferred (i.e. a change request was initiated for correction at a later time). Three, a determination is made that the issue is not a defect, and the comment is retired. The effort expended during work product rework must be captured, reflecting time for fixing defects, disposing defects and rewriting material for re-inspection as part of the inspection data recorded on the inspection cover sheet. This data is used to gauge inspection effectiveness (cost per defect removed).

During Inspection Follow-up, the moderator examines the rework and the issue dispositions to ensure that all potential defects are disposed. Any material scheduled for re-inspection is re-inspected. Any remaining information on the inspection cover sheet is completed. The moderator signs and dates the inspection cover sheet to bring inspection to closure.

Review Metrics

• Size of work product
• Number of reviewers
• Total review effort
• Number of defects / issues
• Effort per size
• Effort per defect / issue
• Cost per defect / issue
• Defect / issue density
• Meeting rate
• Preparation rate

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Quality Cost Analysis

December 23rd, 2008 Comments off

The main language of corporate management is money, so the concept of studying quality-related costs is essential. The quality guru, Joseph Juran has been advocating the analysis of quality-related costs since 1951. He give his theory of quality improvement which is commonly known as Juran Trilogy.

Quality costs: The costs that are associated with preventing, finding, and correcting defective work are Quality Costs. Normally, these costs are running at 20% – 30% of sales.

Many of these costs can be significantly reduced or completely avoided. One of the key functions of a Quality Analysis / Engineer is the reduction of the total cost of quality associated with a product / service.

Below are the main Quality Costs:

- Prevention Costs
- Appraisal Costs
- Failure Costs
- Internal Failure Costs
- External Failure Costs

Total Cost of Quality can be calculated as the sum of costs:

Prevention + Appraisal + Internal Failure + External Failure

Prevention Costs: Costs of activities that are specifically designed to prevent poor quality which include

- Coding errors
- Design errors
- Mistakes in the user manuals
- Dadly documented or unmaintainably complex code

Most of the prevention costs don’t fit within the Testing Group’s budget. This money is spent by the programming, design, and marketing staffs.

Appraisal Costs: Costs of activities designed to find quality problems, such as code inspections and any type of testing.

Design reviews are part of prevention and part appraisal. Please note the following two points:

1. To the degree that you’re looking for errors in the proposed design itself when you do the review, you’re doing an appraisal.

2. To the degree that you are looking for ways to strengthen the design, you are doing prevention.

Failure Costs: Costs that result from poor quality, such as the cost of fixing bugs and the cost of dealing with customer complaints.

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Internal Failure Costs: Failure costs that arise before your company supplies its product to the customer. Along with costs of finding and fixing bugs are many internal failure costs borne by groups outside of Product Development. If a bug blocks someone in your company from doing his or her job, the costs of

- the wasted time
- the missed milestones
- and the overtime to get back onto schedule

are all internal failure costs.

The UI issues / bugs / defects – the ones that will be fixed later – can make it hard for these staff members to take accurate screen shots. Delays caused by these minor design flaws, or by bugs that block a packaging staff member from creating or printing special reports, can cause the company to miss its printer deadline.

External Failure Costs: External failure costs are much higher. The costs that arise after your company supplies the product to the customer such as

- Customer service costs
- Cost of patching a released product distributing the patch

It is much cheaper to fix problems before shipping the defective product to customers.

Examples of Prevention Costs:

- Fault-tolerant design
- Defensive programming
- Usability analysis
- Clear specification
- Staff training
- Requirements analysis
- Early prototyping
- Accurate internal documentation
- Evaluation of the reliability of development tools

Examples of Appraisal Costs:

- Training testers
- Beta testing
- Test automation
- Usability testing
- Design review
- Code inspection
- Glass box testing
- Black box testing

Examples of Internal Failure Costs:

- Wasted writer time
- Wasted marketer time
- Cost of late shipment
- Bug fixes
- Regression testing
- Wasted in-house user time
- Wasted tester time

Examples of External Failure:

- Lost sales
- Lost customer goodwill
- Discounts to resellers to encourage them to keep selling the product
- Warranty costs
- Liability costs
- Penalties
- Technical support calls
- Preparation of support answer books
- Investigation of customer complaints
- Refunds and recalls
- Coding / testing of interim bug fix releases
- Shipping of updated product
- All other costs imposed by law

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