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Quality Management – Overview

Software quality management is an umbrella activity – incorporating both quality control and quality assurance – that is applied at each step in the software process. SQA encompasses procedures for the effective application of methods and tools, formal technical reviews, testing strategies and techniques, procedures for change control, procedures for assuring compliance to standards, and measurement and reporting mechanisms.
SQA is complicated by the complex nature of software quality – an attribute of computer programs that is defined as “conformance to explicitly and implicitly specified requirements. But when considered more generally, software quality encompasses many different product and process factors and related metrices.

Software reviews are one of the most important quality control activities. Reviews serve as filters throughout all software engineering activities, removing errors while they are relatively inexpensive to find and correct. The formal technical review is stylized meeting that has been shown to be extremely effective in uncovering errors.
To properly conduct software quality assurance, data about the software engineering process should be collected, evaluated, and disseminated. Statistical SQA helps to improve the quality of the product and the software process itself. Software reliability models extend measurements, enabling collected defect data to be extrapolated into projected failure rates and reliability predictions.

Software quality assurance is the mapping of the managerial precepts and design disciplines of quality assurance onto the applicable managerial and technological space of software engineering. The ability to ensure quality is the measure of a mature engineering discipline. When the mapping is successfully accomplished, mature software engineering is the result.

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