SOFTWARE IN PRACTICE
IT Quality Policy
(Alias: IT quality values)
Action from principle ... divides the individual, separating the diabolical in him from the divine.
An IT quality policy states the basic beliefs that drive your organisation to deliver quality in software intensive systems. It acts like a company constitution informing people's actions when there is no specific procedure to guide them, especially in high stress situations. For example a policy statement that says: "we don't ship untested code" should inform the actions of a project team when a deadline is upon them, they are under pressure to deliver but testing is not complete. Quality policies also identify organisational priorities separating the critical few from the important many. A policy may also summarise measures of success (for example: customer satisfaction).
Who Writes the Quality Policy?
Senior management demonstrates commitment to quality by writing a quality policy and making sure that everyone in the organisation has read it and understands its implications. Note that the existence of a documented quality policy is a mandatory requirement of ISO 90011.
Writing a Quality Policy
Quality policies are formulated from basic quality principles as they apply to an organisation's business environment. They touch on the following subject areas:
Quality Policy Examples
Quality policy statements can be focused both on general quality principles and specific business processes. For example:
As our first priority the management of XYZ company is committed to delivering quality software to our customers. We recognise that consistent satisfaction of customer needs is essential to business survival
A Software Project Management Plan shall be created for all projects
Monitoring and controlling
Project managers shall produce project performance reports at intervals agreed with the project sponsor
All projects shall prepare a Software Requirements Specification describing the functions, performance and the interface requirements of the software product
All projects shall conduct a Design Input Review to establish that design inputs such as Software Requirements Specifications are unambiguous, complete and correct and possess sufficient quality to support the development of a design solution
Projects shall develop software in compliance with predefined coding standards. Coding standards shall be updated to reflect any project specific practices
All projects shall describe the approach to testing in a Software Test Plan. The STP shall describe the project's approach to unit, integration and acceptance testing
All projects shall plan and perform the software quality management activities required to ensure that the customer's stated and implied needs are met and that the software product is developed in compliance with recognized best practice
Project managers shall be responsible for ensuring that development team members are aware of their quality responsibilities and appropriately trained to perform their assigned tasks.