Issue V

October Cover

Experiences and Advances in Software Quality

Volume: 2009, Issue V

Date: October 2009

Guest Editors: Darren Dalcher and Luis Fernández-Sanz 

Contents: Download full issue (PDF 1.35MB)

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Preventative Software Quality Control: Using Human Checking to Change Defective Human Practice

Traditional Software Inspection is often uneconomic and ties up valuable staff resources. Shifting the emphasis from cleanup (that is, from identifying defects and then removing them), to merely sampling the major defect level of specifications, produces significant benefits. It enables the quality level of specifications to be determined more rapidly. Consequently, the QC (Quality Control) can be carried out more frequently. Systems and software engineers rapidly learn, through SQC (Software/Specification QC) feedback, to take standards seriously, which in turn reduces defect injection. Furthermore, by analyzing where/how the defects occur, continuous process improvement can be supported. The key idea is to inexpensively measure the degree of violation of critical practices, as expounded in standards (‘Rules’). Then to make sure that work which exceeds reasonable levels of major defect density fails to exit from its creation process. Avoid Garbage Out! Download

The Software Process Improvement Hype Cycle

This paper provides a historical perspective on the state of the field of software process improvement (SPI). Just as process improvement itself, the development of our expectations regarding process improvement can be viewed following a staged model which is analogous to the popular Gartner Hype Cycle for innovation. The stages highlighted in this survey are characterized by the issues in their primary focus which are mostly not forgotten at all in later stages but rather further expanded and becoming more mature. The characteristics of the identified stages are: awareness of process capability weaknesses triggered by the software crisis and CMM, SPI and ISO9000 expectations, bridging the trough of disillusionment, enlightenment leading to further recognition of the importance of business goals, plateau of spreading to other disciplines and models, trough of doubts and new triggers, plateau of reconciliation and industrial adoption. The hype cycle view of historical development can contribute to the appreciation of the role of various approaches to software process improvement, as well as to the better comprehension of the way their combination can benefit the industry. Download

Quality Going for Gold

This paper will discuss the proposed changes in the TickIT scheme - TickITplus. These changes are currently out for consultation, following development over a period of several years. The reason for reconsidering the TickIT scheme stems from the need to be able to identify and differentiate between companies, as the level of quality process needs to improve both for clients and suppliers. The concept of higher levels of quality process has been established for many years with CMM and now with the CMMI models. The paper will consider the proposed four levels of TickITplus, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The current TickIT scheme is similar in principle to the Bronze level so that current TickIT auditors will be able to perform audits at this grade after some initial retraining. Further training will be necessary to develop expertise in the TickITplus model and in order to audit at the higher assessment levels. Currently the documentation for the TickIT scheme comprises guidance material together with the criteria for the TickIT auditors. The TickIT Guide has been updated and maintained by the JTISC as TickIT has evolved, but this committee will be expanding the documentation to cover both guidance and requirements for the TickITplus scheme. Extension of the TickITplus scheme could provide opportunities for extending the scope of an audit visit to include other standards such as service management and IT security. This could minimize the cost and disruption for clients that are being audited against the various standards. Download

Can Teamwork Management Help in Software Quality and Process Improvement?

In modern organizations teamwork is considered a key factor for success in business. A growing interest on team culture has led to a great number of contributions where different teamwork aspects are analyzed as drivers for teamwork practices improvement. Software development process is a team activity. Consequently, success in software organizations depends largely on the performance of software teams. In this article, firstly we study the teamwork key factors for success and quality in software development projects. Secondly, we present a teamwork assessment model for software teams. Download

Evidence-based Software Engineering and Systematic Literature Reviews

In 2004-5, Kitchenham, Dybå and Jørgensen wrote three papers discussing the concept of evidence-based software engineering (EBSE). EBSE is concerned with the aggregation of empirical evidence and uses systematic literature reviews (SLRs) as a methodology for performing unbiased aggregation of empirical results. This paper presents the concepts of EBSE and SLRs. In order to access the current impact of these concepts we relate existing systematic reviews to the software engineer’s body of knowledge (SWEBOK) structure. Our long term goal is to see the SWEBOK supported by a software engineer’s body of evidence. Download

Software Project Success: Moving Beyond Failure

Success and failure in software projects appear to be difficult to define. While there is a consensus around the prevalence of project failure, new projects seem destined to repeat past mistakes. This paper tries to advance the discussion by offering a new perspective for reasoning about the meaning of success and the different types of failures. In order to court project success, practitioners need to rise beyond a fixation with internal parameters of efficiency to recognise the role of quality in bringing about the effectiveness required to secure project success. The paper begins by discussing project failure surveys and the impact of project constraints before offering a richer model that identifies the crucial role of quality in securing future success. The paper concludes by introducing a series of mini-case studies that help in making sense of success and failure and in particular highlight the interplay between the four levels of success. Download

Software Measurement for Better Project and Process Quality

Software increasingly governs our world and our society. Since software is so ubiquitous and embedded in nearly everything we do, we need to stay in control. We have to make sure that systems and their software run as we intend - or better. Software measurement is the discipline that ensures that we stay in control. Software measurement applies to products (e.g., performance engineering), processes (e.g., productivity improvement), projects (e.g., estimation) and people (e.g., engineering skills). This article will introduce to software measurement in the context of achieving better quality for projects and processes. Download

Methods for Testing Web Service Compositions

The deployment of software as a service has the objective, in the short or medium term, that these services will be invoked not just from one particular application, but also from other software or services. Consequently, using well-established and automated testing methods is essential to firstly assure the quality of the deployed services and also to facilitate regression testing. In this paper we describe methods that have been recently proposed to test web service compositions, particularly focusing on the de-facto industrial standard BPEL. Download

A Quality Evaluation Model for Web2.0 e-Learning Systems

Web2.0 is used in e-Learning to transfer the qualities of social networking to the virtual classroom. The continuous evaluation of the Web2.0 e-Learning systems requires the use of quality evaluation models in a continuously evolving environment. This paper proposes a quality evaluation model for Web2.0 e-Learning systems called EEQM which focuses on three main components: a) software quality factors, b) pedagogical requirements and c) Web2.0 elements. The EEQM model involves the combination of three methods for estimating the quality of e-leaning systems: a) Frequency, b) Median, and c) Total Quality. Download