Software Quality Management

The notion of "quality" is not as simple as it may seem. For any engineered product, there are many desired qualities relevant to a particular project. The section explains software quality fundamentals, including the main SQM processes: quality assurance, verification, validation, review, and audit.

Reviews and Audits


The purpose of an inspection is to detect and identify software product anomalies. Two important differentiators of inspections as opposed to reviews are as follows:

  • An individual holding a management position over any member of the inspection team shall not participate in the inspection.
  • An inspection is to be led by an impartial facilitator who is trained in inspection techniques.

Software inspections always involve the author of an intermediate or final product, while other reviews might not. Inspections also include an inspection leader, a recorder, a reader, and a few (2 to 5) inspectors. The members of an inspection team may possess different expertise, such as domain expertise, design method expertise, or language expertise. Inspections are usually conducted on one relatively small section of the product at a time. Each team member must examine the software product and other review inputs prior to the review meeting, perhaps by applying an analytical technique to a small section of the product, or to the entire product with a focus only on one aspect, for example, interfaces. Any anomaly found is documented and sent to the inspection leader. During the inspection, the inspection leader conducts the session and verifies that everyone has prepared for the inspection. A checklist, with anomalies and questions germane to the issues of interest, is a common tool used in inspections. The resulting list often classifies the anomalies and is reviewed for completeness and accuracy by the team. The inspection exit decision must correspond to one of the following three criteria:

  • Accept with no or at most minor reworking
  • Accept with rework verification
  • Reinspect

Inspection meetings typically last a few hours, whereas technical reviews and audits are usually broader in scope and take longer.