Projects


PASS (Pay-roll Accounting and Settlement System)

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This project is carried out with the financial support of the European Union under the European Systems and Software Initiative (ESSI). EP Number 21223

Introduction

Background Information
  Objectives
  Involved companies
   and their roles

Starting scenario

Expected business impact

Implementation of
 Process Improvement
  Organisation
  Technical environment
  Training
  Phases of the experiment
  Internal dissemination

Results and Analysis
  Technical
  Business
  Organisation
  Culture
  Skills Key Lessons
  Technological Point-of-View
  Business Point-of-View
  Strengths and weaknesses

Conclusions and future actions

Glossary

References

Results & Analysis

Technical

The technical implementation of the scenarios and the customized software development process contributes to the replicability of the PIE results due to the availability of the Process Library and the direct and comfortable usage of the workflows in project planning and scheduling.

Figure 8
Implementation of Configuration Management Scenario into LBMS PE tool

The purpose of the implementation of the quality scenarios into LBMS PE tool is to provide a set of standard process templates to adapt them to meet the risks, priorities, size, team skills and target environment of the current project with the associated:

  • activity dependencies
  • inputs and outputs
  • roles and responsibilities
  • templates
The implemented quality scenarios were directly used for creating the working instructions of the ISO 9001 Quality System documentation. This was the key issue to achieve compliance with the ISO 9001 requirements on the basis of a high capability maturity level. The direct result was the extremely short period of the overall introduction of the Quality System, which is one of the main experiments of this PIE.

The complaince of the software process related quality scenarios with the chapters of the ISO 9001 Quality System documentation was defined as follows:

Project Planning Scenario was implemented as the working instruction of Design Control in order to establish and maintain documented procedures to control and verify the design of the software product.

The working instruction implemented from the Configuration Management Scenario was referred at the chapters of Document and Data Control; Product Identification and Traceability; Inspection and Test Status; Control of Nonconforming Product; Handling, Storage, Packeging, Preservation and Delivery.

Review Modeling Scenario and Testing Scenario were implemented as the working instructions of Inspection and Testing.

Figure 9
Inspection and testing of software development

In most of the workpackages starting the work meant making a plan of performing the tasks. Before the beginning of the completion of this plan, it had to be preceded by a review of the plan to make sure that the goals and objectives were correct and that the requirements would be met. This is called the design review. At appropriate stages of the software development project, typically at endstage, formal documented reviews of the project plan were planned and conducted.

In the PASS PIE project the deliverables of each workpackage were documents, so the document review path was followed using the Review Modeling Scenario.

In the case of the PASS baseline project the deliverables of the workpackages were either software products or documents, so the appropriate path (of Figure 9) was applied to decide the type of test and review to be executed.

The ability of a software was examined by running tests and the test reports were discussed in the appropriate reviews, these are called test case reviews.

Depending on the life cycle phase of the software product the following tests and reviews were executed:

  • The design review is a review of the software development process.
  • The test strategy review is a review of the tailored test strategy.
  • The module test is completed on the program modules, followed by the module test case review.
  • The integration test is completed when the complete modul is ready and proves that the parts of the product co-operate correctly, followed by the integration test case review.
  • The system test is completed on subsystems or systems, followed by the system test case review.
  • The acceptance test is usually done in the presence of the customer followed by the approval review, where both software and documentation are checked.

Business

The following goals, as leveraging effects on business performance, were measured at the end of the project:
  • Extension of business activities to financial services (the number of financial transactions has been doubled)
  • More competitive service charges due to decreased production costs (the price per employee has been cut down by 30%)
  • Increased volume of pay-roll services (the number of employees processed per month has increased by 50%)
The PIE has a direct leveraging effect on business performance, achieved by improving the control of the development process measured by the increased maturity level of the organizationís software development capabilities.

The maturity results of the experiment were measured even at midterm (April, 1998) by BootCheck Self Assessment Tool. BootCheck is a joint initiative sponsored by ESI (European Software Institute) and Bootstrap Institute. The aim of BootCheck is to enable individual Software Producing Units in an organization to make quantified assessments of their software capabilities, and to use this information as a key element in continued process improvement programmes.

According to the BootCheck assessment at midterm the SPU maturity level was 2.75, near the Defined level, which meant that the software process was documented, standardized, and integrated into a standard software process for the organization. Organizational profile was also rated at 2.75, with the relative weakness of resource management. From the methodology point of view the process related functions scored at 3, life cycle functions at 2.5 and life cycle independent functions at 2.75.

The final maturity metrics are produced by the BOOTSTRAP assessment performed in October, 1998. The main improvements compared to the previous status are achieved in resource management, life cycle and life cycle independent functions due to the running Quality System and further improvement in development cycle modeling. The SPU maturity and all the main elements (Organization, Methodology) achieved the Defined (3) level, only the architectural design attribute remained below the repeatable level, where further improvement is necessary. The PASS baseline project attributes show the role of measurement modeling in further improvement tasks. Next issue to aim the Managed maturity level of SPU is to develop and implement the process measurement model for all activities of the IT department utilizing the measurement modeling results of the PASS project.

Figure 10
Measurement of results

Organisation

The Quality Assurance Unit is the really new structure element appearing from the improvement of the quality processes. It is important, that the Quality Management organization is separate from the software development units. Project schedules are always tight, and project managers should not be worried about inadequate test plans, human factor problems, or documentation errors. If the size or complexity of a project requires, quality management functions can be dedicated to a person at project level as well.

The Quality Manager or the member of the Quality Assurance Unit works closely with the developement organization. It is relevant to understand every part of the process customized for the development activities.

Culture

The implementation of the whole ISO 9001 Quality System regarding the IT department of MemoLuX started in April, 1998 after continuous training and consultation on the materials. The quality policy was fully understood and accepted by the whole staff. The fulfillment of ISO 9001 requirements for the software development organization aiming at a defined maturity level at the same time was a great effort, but a real challenge for the well educated staff of MemoLuX.

The earlier resistance to adopting the new working instructions was overcome by the continuous involvement of the staff members through the so called Software Circle discussion forum and after the introduction of the Quality System two immediate internal audits helped the staff to get the correct adaptations. The compliance was measured by the ISO 9001 certification within an extremely short time.

Skills

Regarding the Quality Management personnel it is very important to have sufficiently experienced and knowledgeable people. In our practice the Quality Manager, as a system design expert with quality skills, can monitor whether the methods and standards used by the software development experts are consistently and correctly applied. The following skills are necessary for doing this job properly:
  • knowledge of quality control procedures
  • knowledge of the software development process
  • knowledge of statistical methods
  • and it is very important to have the ability to deal effectively with people in controversial situations.

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