Ten Common Mistakes Companies Make Setting Up and Managing Software Quality Assurance Departments

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In the late 70s and early 80’s, when the Japanese were teaching the world about
manufacturing quality, I was establishing a software quality program and managing a
software Quality Assurance (QA) department. My department was very successful. We
significantly increased the profitability of our projects, improved customer satisfaction,
and gave the company a significant competitive advantage. With hindsight and
experience, I now understand the key factors that made our QA department so effective.
Since that time, I have seen dozens of Software Quality Assurance departments come and
go. Some were successful. Most, however, had limited success and were eventually
abandoned. The purpose of this article is to describe common mistakes companies make
when setting up and managing a Quality Assurance department.

Mistake 1: Not properly defining objectives.

Mistake 2: Not properly defining a Quality Assurance department’s responsibilities
and staffing to meet these responsibilities.

Mistake 3: Senior management not understanding their responsibility for Quality
Assurance.

Mistake 4: Not holding the QA department accountable for project success.

Mistake 5: Assuming existing standards/processes are followed and are sufficient.

Mistake 6: Separating methodology responsibilities from review and enforcement
responsibilities.

Mistake 7: Not integrating measurement into the process.

Mistake 8: Ignoring, misunderstanding, or not communicating risk.

Mistake 9: Lack of management reporting from the QA department.

Mistake 10: The QA department is positioned too low in the organization.

 

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