SOFTWARE IN PRACTICE
(Alias: continuous improvement)
Respect your past but continually update.
Continuous quality improvement is a fundamental requirement of all quality management systems. It is a recurring theme in all quality management literature and international standards including ISO 90011 (refer clause 0.2 Process approach). The core principle is that quality improvement is not a one-time effort; it is an ongoing process that lasts for the life of an enterprise. Experience has shown that without a constant focus on product quality and process improvement organisations naturally descend into randomness and quality standards lapse sometimes with catastrophic results for the company and its customers.
Catastrophe in the Absence of Quality Improvement
The Quality Improvement Cycle
Management must drive quality improvement encouraging, and providing opportunities for, everyone in the organisation to get involved. In a modern software development organisation the constant review and updating of product functionality, processes, standards and procedures is a hygiene factor for staying in business.
Improvement initiatives are driven by process improvement groups staffed by subject matter experts in product design, manufacture and service delivery. The figure depicts process improvement as a never ending activity. It takes in defect reports from day to day operations, trends them over time, determines causes and corrective actions and makes changes in development practices to eliminate problems and incrementally improve the overall quality of the end product.
Process improvement groups also field new ideas on better ways of doing the work and builds them into the company's best-known practices.