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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Software Quality Assurance - SQA

Software Quality Assurance (SQA) is defined as a planned and systematic approach to the evaluation of the quality of and adherence to software product standards, processes, and procedures. SQA includes the process of assuring that standards and procedures are established and are followed throughout the software acquisition life cycle. Compliance with agreed-upon standards and procedures is evaluated through process monitoring, product evaluation, and audits. Software development and control processes should include quality assurance approval points, where an SQA evaluation
of the product may be done in relation to the applicable standards.

Establishing standards and procedures for software development is critical, since these provide the framework from which the software evolves. Standards are the established criteria to which the software products are compared. Procedures are the established criteria to which the development and control processes are compared.
Standards and procedures establish the prescribed methods for developing software; the SQA role is to ensure their existence and adequacy. Proper documentation of standards and procedures is necessary since the SQA activities of process monitoring, product evaluation, and auditing rely upon unequivocal definitions to measure project compliance.

Software quality assurance is composed of a variety of tasks associated with two different constituencies - the software engineers who do technical work and an SQA group that has responsibility for quality assurance planning, oversight, record keeping, analysis, and reporting. Product evaluation and process monitoring are the SQA activities that assure the software development and control processes.
Product evaluation is an SQA activity that assures standards are being followed. Product evaluation assures that the software product reflects the requirements of the applicable standard(s) as identified in the Management Plan.
Process monitoring is an SQA activity that ensures that appropriate steps to carry out the process are being followed.
A fundamental SQA technique is the audit, which looks at a process and/or a product in depth, comparing them to established procedures and standards. Audits are used to review management, technical, and assurance processes to provide an indication of the quality and status of the software product.

- Prepares an SQA plan for a project.
- Participates in the development of the project's software process description.
- Reviews software engineering activities to verify compliance with defined software process.
- Audits designated software work products to verify compliance with those defined as part of software process.
- Ensures that deviations in software work and work products are documented and handled according to a document procedure.
- Records any noncompliance and reports to senior management.

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