Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Using Defects for Process Improvement

Using defects to improve processes is not done by many organizations today, but it offers one of the greatest areas of payback. NASA emphasizes the point that any defect represents a weakness in the process. Seemingly unimportant defects are, from a process perspective, no different from critical defects.

It is only the developer’s good luck that prevents a defect from causing a major failure. Even minor defects, therefore, represent an opportunity to learn how to improve the process and prevent potentially major failures. While the defect itself may not be a big deal, the fact that there was a defect is a big deal.

Based on the research team findings, this activity should include the following:
Go back to the process that originated the defect to understand what caused the defect, Go back to the verification and validation process, which should have caught the defect earlier

Not only can valuable insight be gained as to how to strengthen the review process, these steps make everyone involved in these activities take them more seriously. This human factors dimension alone, according to some of the people the research team interviewed, can have a very large impact on the effectiveness of the review process

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