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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Quality Measurement

Quality is very important for the success of any software project. This is an accepted fact The issue here is how to measure the quality.

Time, Cost and Quality is the well known triple constraint. How to workout this is taught and practiced by several project management methodologies like PMP and Prince2 etc.,

It is a general feeling that Quality is all about Measurement, defining the measure, collecting the data, plotting the data against an upper and lower bound and analyzing the results when there are cases of data falling outside the tolerance limits.

What is wrong with this? Nothing. But the key lies in defining the measure. There are several factors of the quality :- Functional Fit, Usability, Performance, Security, Maintainability, Testability, Flexibility, interoperability, and so on the list goes on unending with several abilities.

Most of the times, Quality measurement goes with a standard template developed by some quality champion with in the organization. There will be a lot of thumb rules applied. So, projects mechanically collect the data and fill in the spreadsheets required by the Quality people.
No one really cares about the figures as long as the customer is happy. When customer is unhappy there will be an additional audit done and few NCRs (non conformance reports) logged against the project. The show continues.

Quality Measurement should be done religiously to improve the quality of the project - Not just to fulfill the requirements of the Quality department and filling up spreadsheets just for the sake of it.

It starts right at the planning stage when identifying work items and the quality goals. Be realistic when doing this part of the planning to achieve the best results for both the service provider and the customer.
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