Role Of Management in QA

Basically, a three-level structure of management exists in software development organizations −

  • Top management
  • Department management
  • Project management

Top Management Responsibilities in Software Quality

Following are the responsibilities of the top management in ensuring Software Quality −

  • Assure the quality of the company’s software products and software maintenance services

  • Communicate the importance of the product and service quality in addition to customer satisfaction to employees at all levels

  • Assure satisfactory functioning and full compliance with customer requirements

  • Ensure that quality objectives are established for the organization’s SQA system and that its objectives are accomplished

  • Initiate planning and oversee implementation of changes necessary to adapt the SQA system to major internal as well as external changes related to the organization’s clientele, competition, and technology

  • Intervene directly to support resolution of crisis situations and minimize damages

  • Ensure the availability of resources required by SQA systems

The following steps can be taken by the top management to fulfill its responsibilities −

  • Establishing and updating the organization’s software quality policy.

  • Assigning one of the executives such as Vice President for SQA to be in charge of software quality issues

  • Conducting regular management reviews of performance with respect to software quality issues

Software Quality Policy

The organization’s software quality policy should communicate the following requirements −

  • Conformity to the organization’s purpose and goals

  • Commitment to general software quality assurance concepts

  • Commitment to the quality standards adopted by the organization

  • Commitment to allocate adequate resources for software quality assurance

  • Commitment to continuous improvement of the organization’s quality and productivity

The Executive In-charge of Software Quality

The responsibilities of the executive in-charge of software quality issues may be classified as −

  • Responsibility for preparation of an annual SQA activities program and budget

  • Responsibility for preparation of SQA system development plans

  • Overall control of implementation of the annual SQA regular activities program and planned SQA development projects

  • Presentation and advocacy of SQA issues to executive management

Responsibility for Preparation of Annual SQA Activities Program

This requires the executive to −

  • Establish the system’s SQA objectives for the coming year

  • Review proposals prepared by the SQA unit for the annual activities program and verify the proposal's potential to fulfil the objectives set for the SQA system

  • Determine whether the activities program is adequate to the characteristics and scope of subcontractor services and software purchases planned for the coming year

  • Determine the adequacy of the manpower and other resources planned for implementation of the SQA program

  • Approve the final version of the annual SQA activities program and budget

Responsibility for Preparation of SQA System Development Plans

These plans must be adaptable to the changes in technological as well as customer demands and competition. The responsibilities include −

  • Review of trends that are expected to affect the organization’s software quality in the near future

  • Review proposals for SQA adaptations such as preparation of new procedures appropriate to the new tools and SQA standards

  • Preparation of training programs for veteran software development teams and newly recruited team members

  • Development of software quality metrics appropriate for evaluating the new tools and standards as well as the success of the training programs

  • Approval of the final version of the planned SQA development projects, including their schedules and budgets

Overall Control of Implementation of the Annual SQA Program

The executive in-charge is responsible for −

  • General supervision of the annual activities program

  • Review of the progress of the SQA adaptation projects

  • General supervision of the actions taken to realize the quality achievements dictated by the teams’ objectives (based on periodic reports)

  • Review of compliance with SQA procedures and standards based on internal quality audits

  • General follow-up of compliance to software development project schedules and budgets

  • General follow-up of provision of quality maintenance services to external and internal customers

Presentation and Advocacy of SQA Issues to Executive Management

In order to promote quality and resolve SQA system difficulties it requires −

  • Presentation for final approval of the proposed annual activities program and budget

  • Presentation for final approval of planned SQA adaptation projects together with the corresponding budgets

  • Initiation and leadership of periodic management review meetings dedicated to the organization’s software quality

  • Initiation of management-level discussions dedicated to special software quality events, such as severe quality failures, threats to the successful completion of projects due to severe professional staff shortages, managerial crises in the SQA unit, and so on

Department Management Responsibilities for SQA

Middle management’s quality assurance responsibilities include −

  • Management of the software quality management system (quality system-related tasks)

  • Management of tasks related to the projects and services performed by units or teams under the specific manager’s authority (project-related tasks)

Quality system-related responsibilities

These include SQA activities to be performed on the department level −

  • Preparation of the department’s annual SQA activities program and budget, based on the recommended program prepared by the SQA unit

  • Preparation of the department’s SQA systems development plans, based on the recommended plan prepared by the SQA unit

  • Control of performance of the department’s annual SQA activities program and development projects

  • Presentation of the department’s SQA issues to top management

Project-related Responsibilities

These vary according to the organization’s procedures and distribution of authority; they usually involve −

  • Control of compliance to quality assurance procedures in the department’s units, including CAB, SCM and SCCA bodies

  • Detailed follow-up of contract review results and proposal approvals

  • Review of unit performance of planned review activities; approval of project documents and project phase completion

  • Follow-up of software tests and test results; approval of project’s software products

  • Follow-up of progress of software development project schedules and budget deviations

  • Advice and support to project managers in resolving schedule, budget and customer relations difficulties

  • Follow-up of quality of maintenance services provision

  • Detailed follow-up of the project risks and their solutions

  • Follow-up of project’s compliance with customer requirements and customer’s satisfaction

  • Approval of large software change orders and significant deviations from project specifications

Project management responsibilities on software quality

Most project management responsibilities are defined in procedures and work instructions; the project manager is the person in-charge of making sure that all the team members comply with the said procedures and instructions.

His tasks include professional hands-on and managerial tasks, particularly the following −

  • Professional hands-on tasks

    • Preparation of project and quality plans and their updates

    • Participation in joint customer–supplier committee

    • Close follow-up of project team staffing, including attending to recruitment, training and instruction

  • Management tasks

    Project managers address the follow-up issues such as −

    • Performance of review activities and the consequent corrections

    • Software development and maintenance unit’s performance, integration and system test activities as well as corrections and regression tests

    • Performance of acceptance tests

    • Software installation in remote customer sites and the execution of the software system by the customer

    • SQA training and instruction of project team members

    • Schedules and resources allocated to project activities

    • Customer requests and satisfaction

    • Evolving project development risks, application of solutions and control of results

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