Ying Kwong, State of Oregon and Patricia McQuaid, Orfalea College of Business, Cal Poly
This presentation discusses the use of independent quality assurance in Major IT Projects, with focus on the public sector.
In the past 10 years, one of the authors coordinated the use of independent quality assurance contractors in IT projects with life cycle budgets that range between $1 million and $100 million. In a typical engagement, the independent contractor selected begins with a comprehensive review of project risks. The findings of this Initial
Risk Assessment are among the inputs to the contractor’s Independent Quality Management Plan (iQMP). This iQMP is supported by quality metrics and quality checklists, to be used for Independent Quality Assurance (iQA) and Independent Quality Control (iQC), respectively. In this context, iQA refers to a 360-degree review of management approaches and processes used by internal project staff and its contractors (especially the prime implementation contractor); with typically quarterly iQA reports that recommend process improvements.
Also in this context, iQC refers to the review and testing of work products; with two important aspects. First, important project artifacts (e.g. project plan, detail requirements, design, architecture, test plan, etc.) are subjected to independent review; in order to identify pre-coding / pre-testing defects. Second, independent testing is conducted to identify defects; with test coverage appropriate with ongoing project health and risks. This presentation will discuss best practices, lessons learned, and opportunities for improvement in iQA and iQC, with attention on independent verification & validation.
Attention will be paid on the testing of systems implemented around commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) or software-as-a-service (SaaS) products. Possible process improvements traceable to the ISTQB syllabi will be discussed, especially in the context when the prime implementation contractors utilize iterative or Agile system development life cycle (SDLC) models.