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Quality Systems Frameworks

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Presentation on theme: "Quality Systems Frameworks"— Presentation transcript:

1 Quality Systems Frameworks
RIT Software Engineering

2 Some Major Quality Frameworks
ISO 9000 family of standards A general international standard for organizational quality systems Oriented towards assessment and certification Malcolm-Baldrige assessment discipline A set of criteria for the (US) Malcolm-Baldrige quality award Designed to encourage and recognize excellence SEI CMM (Capability Maturity Model) A software-specific model for improving the maturity of software development practices Oriented towards self-assessment and improvement Total Quality Management (TQM) A philosophy and practices for improving quality Focuses on building an organizational quality culture RIT Software Engineering

3 Quality vs. Quality frameworks
A major point to note is that all these are about Quality Systems, and not directly about the actual quality of the product The difference between excellence in quality control for an assembly line car and producing a handmade Rolls-Royce (work of art)! The principle is that an organization with a culture of focusing on quality and on continuous improvement will consistently produce good output Remember also “continually optimize achievement of multiple objectives” – that is what systems do RIT Software Engineering

4 RIT Software Engineering
“Systems don’t produce quality, People do” Would you agree? What does this say about the need for quality systems? RIT Software Engineering

5 Value of the frameworks
“Optimize across all project and organizational objectives” is too open-ended Frameworks provide models of what needs to be addressed Primary value from these frameworks is Defining the specific set of areas to address Defining specific criteria for determining whether the areas are being addressed well Providing basic structures to ensure continuing focus Defining appropriate processes and metrics Mechanisms for continuous improvement, so that processes keep improving and evolving as needs change Assessment mechanisms, to check that all this is happening RIT Software Engineering

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Which framework to use? Different frameworks address different needs Also, there are many other frameworks, and many additions/variations to each Organizations design their own quality management approaches (or it just evolves without design!), possibly using one or more frameworks as a starting point Anyway, frameworks only supply goals, and suggest some ways to achieve goals Each organization needs to adapt the framework(s) to their needs, and decide how to achieve the goals It is common for organizations to go through multiple different assessments, for different purposes If used well, any of the frameworks are good enough If used poorly, none of them will help! (In fact, they will hurt) “Just another tool” RIT Software Engineering

7 Why do you care about all this?
General knowledge As a software engineer, people will expect you to know a little bit about these models Understanding the big picture helps, before we start to focus on specific metrics and techniques Understanding the philosophy and limitations helps you to get a more balanced picture of the quality area And yes, it will be on the exam! But only the concepts, not the specifics of each model RIT Software Engineering

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Malcolm-Baldrige An award for companies that excel in quality management and quality achievement Broad areas, organization-level focus Looks at: Approach, Deployment, Results The value is in its assessment of quality focus and excellence in all aspects of an organization Not just engineering Leadership Quality results Information and Analysis Strategic quality planning Human resource utilization Customer satisfaction Quality assurance of products and services RIT Software Engineering

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Do you think it helps to have such awards? Preparing for a Malcolm-Baldrige evaluation takes a company dozens, maybe hundreds of staff months. Is it energy well-spent? RIT Software Engineering

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ISO 9000 A standard for certifying that organizations follow procedures for ensuring quality Heavy focus on processes and evidence of compliance (documentation) Some focus on statistical techniques and processes for improvement ISO 9000 is about procedures “assure minimum standards of operation” “existence of quality systems and commitment to them” Complementary to other quality management frameworks – limited value in itself RIT Software Engineering

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What are the advantages & disadvantages of a quality system that is heavily procedures and documentation-oriented? RIT Software Engineering

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TQM Not really a framework, more a philosophy and set of practices Very strongly oriented towards building a “quality culture” Major points of emphasis Human aspects: “Quality is the responsibility of every employee” Empowering employees to take actions to improve quality Management commitment Metrics & analysis Continuous improvement of process & quality Customer needs, customer satisfaction Most successful quality management programs incorporate all these aspects RIT Software Engineering

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The culture approach is not really about “compliance” at all It is about building an environment where focusing on project and organizational objectives (“Q”) is part of what it means to “get work done” and to “deliver” Is such an approach good? Is it workable? What are the barriers? RIT Software Engineering

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CMM Created by the SEI (Software Engg Institute) to drive process improvement in software Defines a series of “maturity levels” so that organizations can incrementally put software quality systems in place Self-assessment – the idea is to help organizations create the most appropriate quality system for themselves Focused (relatively) narrowly on the software development process Defines a set of “Key process areas” and goals for each area There is now also a CMMI, that expands CMM to cover “system engineering” aspects Useful when project scope includes system design RIT Software Engineering

15 Frameworks as Knowledge Bases
(Look at the CMM 1.1 doc on the course website) It is really a knowledge base “What areas do we need to address if we want projects to be successful?” “How do we keep everyone aware of good ways to accomplish tasks?” (define processes and practices!) “What are common sources of problems? What structures can we put in place to reduce the chance that they will occur?” “What structures do we need to ensure that the organization will keep trying to improve its processes and practices?” “How do we ensure that good processes lead to good results?” (define appropriate metrics) “How we can we figure out when things aren’t working and how to fix them?” (metrics interpretation, causal analysis, prevention) An organization’s quality management system is its own knowledge base of the best answers to these questions!) RIT Software Engineering

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Limitations of CMM It is heavily oriented towards “optimization of repetitive tasks”, especially at higher maturity levels NOT appropriate if projects differ significantly from one another There is a fundamental assumption that being highly structured is a good thing But structure is not free! (Effort, time, flexibility) This is where agile development methodologies came in It might run counter to the desired organizational culture Organizations need to decide how much maturity is right for them in each process area The more recent “continuous” model addresses this It only works well if the organization has an underlying commitment to quality and structure as the road to results RIT Software Engineering

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Assessments Assessments are massive exercises Value: Feedback on what’s working, opportunities for improvement Cross-fertilization of ideas Problems Easy to “create evidence for the assessment” Passing means at best that systems are in place, not that results are superior Assessments easily become exercises in PR (public relations) Over-focus on “avoiding mistakes” can take energy away from excellence It would be a mistake to read too much into the results Being assessed at high maturity levels or receiving a quality award does NOT guarantee that the organization will be more successful or produce better products – it just means that they have structures in place to keep trying to do better RIT Software Engineering

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Do you think quality management frameworks and quality management systems are necessary? Do they add more value than they cost? Which is better: the “culture” route, the “systems” route, or is it possible to get the best of both worlds? RIT Software Engineering

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My opinions Culture is always the best approach But systems have their place and value “Less is more” Small organizations may not need very much formal quality management Know the theory. As problems are perceived, incrementally put in only what is obviously useful When designing a system, think carefully about what the needs of the organization are and what is appropriate (“start with the objectives and preferences”) Processes tend to grow with time. Quality people should spend as much energy “deleting” unnecessary process as adding process RIT Software Engineering

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Conclusion There are many quality systems frameworks, appropriate to different needs They provide a good starting point for creating quality systems Most organizations use a combination of quality systems RIT Software Engineering

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