The Software Development Process

Questions in the software engineering process section of the questionnaire focus on standards as a way to determine whether an organization has codified its approach. Examine the grade and place it in the context of the grade ranges:

Grade Range

Identifier

Below 1.65

E

1.65 to 2.25

D

2.26 to 2.75

C

2.76 to 3.25

B

Above 3.26

Interpretation:

■ Grades E and D — It is unlikely that the organization has developed a written description of its process or defined a process in any explicit manner.

o Action: The organization should create a skeletal framework for software engineering, that is, a set of activities, deliverables, milestones, and QA actions that can be applied as software is being developed. A description of the framework is then needed to solicit comments and recommendations from managers and technical staff. Over time, the framework should be reworked and more detail added until it evolves into a standard.

■ Grades C and B — The organization has codified many of the activities associated with software development. It is likely that the same approach is applied across different projects and that project planning, control, and software quality assurance are easier to achieve as a result. However, just because standards exist does not mean that the process is effective or properly characterized.

o Action: Each of the standards should be reviewed to determine whether it reflects modern software engineering practice and whether there are aspects that can be streamlined or that do not work well. Time should be spent polling development staff to determine whether the standards are being used as widely as these grade ranges imply. Specific technical areas without standards can be determined by reviewing responses to individual questions. It may be worthwhile to develop a framework approach for a specific technical area (e.g., testing) in a manner similar to that described in the action paragraph for E and D ranges.

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