1st Edition

Reducing Risk with Software Process Improvement




ISBN 9780849338281
Published May 26, 2005 by Auerbach Publications
288 Pages 51 B/W Illustrations

USD $140.00

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Book Description

Reducing Risk with Software Process Improvement recommends the critical practices that aid in the successful delivery of software products and services. The author describes the observations that he made over a period of ten years in IT projects and organizations. He focuses on the areas of software development and maintenance, highlighting the most frequently encountered problems that occur due to poor processes. The author derives recommendations from 40 comprehensive assessments of IT organizations.

This book details the potential or real problems each organization experienced, and offers anecdotes on how these problems resulted from deficient practices, what their impacts were, and how improving specific practices benefitted the organizations.

This volume provides valuable advice for project and application managers looking to minimize the number of crises they have to deal with, and for IT practitioners seeking the practical solutions that lead to career advancement. It benefits customers who need to know what to look for before purchasing IT products or services, and helps investors analyze the efficiency of IT companies before making investment decisions.

Table of Contents

THE INFORMATION AGE
The old software ghosts that haunt us

MANAGING REQUIREMENTS
Ensure system requirements have been reviewed by software
professionals before forging ahead
Establish and enforce a directive stating what must be done
when dealing with system requirements
Train those who have the responsibility of managing
requirements
Document project requirements and make them available to
project team members
Take basic measurements of requirements management
activities and by-products
Involve quality assurance personnel when managing
requirements
Conduct reviews of requirements management activities and
by-products

PLANNING
Involve software professionals when the project is in its early
conceptual stage
Insist that a plan be prepared and specify what it should
contain
Ensure the WBS is used properly
Start by estimating size
Ensure that auxiliary resources have been factored into the
plans
Identify, evaluate and document risks
Ensure management reviews commitments made to
suppliers and customers
Establish and enforce a directive stating what must be
performed in the course of planning a project
Train those who must plan the project
Ensure that individuals and groups are informed of project
commitments that affect them
Involve quality assurance personnel during project planning
Ensure that management reviews project planning activities
and by-products

TRACKING PROGRESS
Ensure management reviews changes to commitments made
to suppliers and customers
Ensure that individuals and groups are informed of changes
to project commitments that affect them
Ensure that internal project reviews are held to track progress
Track risks
Institutionalize formal reviews
Take measurements
Establish clear roles and responsibilities
Establish quality assurance to help monitor project tracking
and supervision
State what is expected at the organizational level in terms of
project monitoring

ASSURING QUALITY
Establish a quality policy
Assign the responsibility of assuring quality
Train personnel assigned to assuring quality
Prepare and implement a quality assurance plan
Document non-compliant items
Communicate quality assurance activities and results
Have quality representatives interface with customers
Institute senior management reviews of quality assurance
activities

RELEASING PRODUCTS, DEPLOYING SERVICES AND
CONTROLLING CHANGES
Establish a repository for baselines
Identify what items will be placed under formal change control
Assign release and change control to someone
Have a plan for controlling deliverables and essential work
products
Document change requests and problem reports
Control changes affecting baselines
Document what the release and change control repository
contains
Conduct baseline audits
Specify what is minimally acceptable in terms of release and
change control

CONTRACTING OUT
Establish and enforce a directive describing at a high level the
steps to take for contracting work out
Insist on having the supplier submit a plan
Agree with the supplier on how progress will be tracked and
how contractual changes will be made
Hold progress and coordination reviews with suppliers
Conduct periodic formal reviews with suppliers
Involve quality assurance personnel and personnel
responsible for release and change control
Ensure that acceptance tests of suppliers' deliverables are
performed, complete, and documented
Train those responsible for the selection and management of
suppliers

DEVELOPING PRODUCTS
Define the format that work products must follow
Ensure that appropriate methods and tools are available
State what is expected in terms of adherence to development
processes
Take the time to train members of the technical staff on how
to perform their tasks
Ensure that comprehensive software requirements have been
developed before moving on
Develop operational and user documentation early on
Plan testing activities and test thoroughly
Collect and analyze defects
Measure, measure and measure, but with circumspection
Involve quality assurance personnel throughout
Periodically review development activities and results

COORDINATING
Document stakeholders' involvement and their commitments
Define how issues will be handled
Ensure that the tools used by the various stakeholders are
compatible
Train managers in teamwork
Ensure that software professionals are represented when
defining system requirements with the customer
Implement regular reviews with representatives of the various
groups involved in the initiative
Identify and manage critical dependencies between
stakeholders
Communicate again and again
Manage expectations form the start

REVIEWING AND INSPECTING
Mandate reviews and inspections
Train peer review participants
Assign peer review leaders, especially when there are many
reviewers
Ensure peer reviews are in the plan
Follow the plan
Collect data
Make sure that quality assurance is part of the process

PROVIDING SERVICES TO CUSTOMERS
Seek, compile and review feedback from customers
Analyze, document and communicate customers' needs
Ensure that information provided by customers remains
private

FOCUSING ON PROCESSES
Make it clear for everyone that improving is a priority
Periodically assess your IT development and maintenance
process
Prepare a plan of action
Implement the plan to define and improve organizational
processes
Establish a library of process-related documentation
Establish a historical measurements repository
Provide training and support as processes are deployed

TRAINING PERSONNEL
Convey the importance of training and how it will be provided
Assign the responsibility for coordinating training and make a
plan
Deliver and track planned training
Maintain and regularly review personnel training records
Periodically assess the training relevance and quality

MANAGING IT INITIATIVES
Mandate that every IT initiative use a management approach
based on the organizational standard
Provide tailoring support and training
Distribute the tailored process to everyone in the team
Harmonize performance and needs
Measure the effectiveness of the organizational management
approach

BUILDING A CULTURE
Document and communicate the type of behavior valued by
the organization
Hold frequent meetings between management and
personnel
Share goals and results achieved by the organization with
personnel
Define and deploy logical and flexible operating procedures

THE REALITY OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
INITIATIVES
Results Overview
Government vs. Private Industry-Services vs. Product
Development-Small vs. Large
Detailed Results
Software Quality Index
Potential Instances of Problems
Potential Failure Modes

ON PROBABILISTIC RISK IDENTIFICATION, MAPPING
AND EVALUATION
The complexity of preventing losses and making the most of
opportunities
PRIME
Application to information technology
The CMM
The Taxonomy-Based Risk Identification
Conclusion

ANNEX A: A CRASH COURSE IN STATISTICAL
PROCESS CONTROL
Quantitatively managing processes
Quantitatively managing quality

ANNEX B: RISK ASSESSMENT AND ESTIMATION OF LOSSES

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Reviews

"This book can help you change the system in your organization. I invite you to learn and understand how you can do better on your projects. I know you all can. I've seen it many times once the organization and managers decide that there is a better way. Poulin's book can enable you to do your best and find that better way."
Ron Radice, from the Foreword