PASS (Pay-roll Accounting and Settlement System)
|This project is carried out with the financial support of the European Union under the European Systems and Software Initiative (ESSI).||EP Number 21223|
Implementation of Process ImprovementMemoLuX decided to improve its development process. This Process Improvement Experiment project gave MemoLuX a good opportunity to evaluate new methods, procedures and tools in a real life environment to model their processes and to implement a quality system.
Nowadays the formal modeling of processes is gaining increasing interest in the field of analyzing organizations with respect to the quality of their products, productivity and efficiency. The process models are the basis for improvement actions and comparisons.
The development of a process model is a process itself. This process had to be adapted to the specific needs of MemoLuX. The level of detail to be specified depends on the level of the development process (measured by BOOTSTRAP assessments), the available computer system configuration, skills and experience of the personnel, and the size of the organization.
Four scenarios were selected for trying out how to build a workflow and for using these experiences based on the results of the former assessment and the requirement for ISO 9001 compliance:
The usage of workflows and quality system documents started during the baseline project initiation (December, 1997). Due to the decision after the investigation of the results of the mid-term self assessment, the overall implementation of the ISO 9001 Quality System for the whole IT organization started in April, 1998.
In the PASS project the quality of MemoLuX's development processes were largely enhanced to become well defined and predictable, so the measurement plan supported the collection and presentation of a set of objective data for illustrating success and/or failure, and the lessons learned.
Performance metrics were applied to show the progress in the field of business performance and software maturity. Workpackage metrics were applied to give quantitative feedback. The measurement plan implementation described how to apply the metrics given in the measurement plan to the workpackages of the PIE and to the baseline project. The measurement plan implementation included measurement issues related to all workphases of the PIE and the baseline project.
Structure of measurement
OrganizationTo complete the phases of the PIE and the baseline project new organizations were defined. These were the project organization for PIE, the project organization for the baseline project, Steering Committee, Project Board, QMU (Quality Management Unit). By the overall implementation of the ISO 9001 Quality System in April, 1998 new organization structure was set up for the whole IT department utilizing the practice of the PIE and baseline projects.
Organizational structure of IT department
Technical EnvironmentMemoLuX made an evaluation process to select the most suitable process modeling tool. The main selection criteria were the support of software development process improvement, the promotion of project management and availability of local vendor.
Criteria for process modeling tool selection
The finally selected LBMS Process Engineer tool consists of a set of processes for planning, managing, and developing Information Systems and gives a technology for automating the use of the system. LBMS offers a product that not only provides an extensive library of best practices, but can help an IT organization to capture its own existing intelligence as the organization's best practices. The components of LBMS Process Engineer ordered by MemoLuX are the Process Manager with the Process Library and the Project Manager. The Process Library stores best practices of which MemoLuX's repeatable processes can be built, making a standard for development and raising the expertise of the entire organization. Process Management is the method to capture, deploy, execute and improve best practices for continuous improvement.
Applying Process Management new processes can be authored, or the best practices from the Process Library can be customized to satisfy MemoLuX's needs so they can become organization standards. The Project Manager provides the ability to generate detailed project plans based on the processes, define and store information on the progress of deliverables, roles and resources and apply metrics and estimating models.
Process Management supported by LBMS PE tool
TrainingTraining and participation on conferences are basic activities of the project. Specific training was performed regarding the usage of the LBMS Process Engineer tools, implementation of the four selected scenarios and the ISO 9001 Quality System. External assistance was provided by MTA SZTAKI and the ISO 9000 consultant Qualyfore. During the training period the permanent improvement of quality system deliverables and the internal dissemination were given priority due to the concept of ISO 9001 preparations.
Phases of the experimentAs part of the project initiation, 6 main stages (see Figure 7) were set up covering the workpackage structure to provide checkpoints for project progress. Due to the fact that there are strong connections between the baseline software development tasks and PIE tasks in measurement and quality monitoring issues, the set up and implementation of the Quality System were performed before completing the system planning phase of the PASS development, so only the project initiation of the baseline was completed at the first stage.
At the endstage review of the first stage performed in December, 1997 corrective actions were indicated in time, during the detailed planning and scheduling of the next stages:
After the completion of the ISO 9001 Quality System documentation based on the implemented quality scenarios and successful training and coaching period at the closure of the second stage, the decision was made to complete the implementation tasks of the Quality System in the third stage. This meant the overall introduction of the Quality System in the whole IT organization which had been originally planned at later stage. This meant extra effort for the IT staff during the third stage so the baseline project was suspended for one and a half month period. The success of the performance of this stage was measured by the mid-term self assessment, and after internal audits, a successful ISO 9001 certification was achieved.
On the basis of the results of the first three stages, the baseline project schedule was updated. The parallel activities of the baseline and the PIE projects regarding measurement and quality monitoring were performed in stage 4 and 5. The fifth stage ended by the final BOOTSTRAP assessment of the project. The measured maturity level of the IT department was 3.
In stage 6 the external dissemination activities were completed.
Figure 7 above shows the dynamics of the experiment by comparing the first
plan with the actual one. The main quantitative result of the project
regarding scheduling is the two-month delay in baseline development compared
to the one-month introduction period of the ISO 9001 Quality System. The
software industry based expectation for the introduction was 6 months.
This means that the formerly achieved process improvement maturity level 3
causes delay in the first project, but this delay is comparable to the
introduction period of the ISO 9001 Quality System. The clear advantage is the
extremely fast achievement of compliance with ISO 9001 requirements for the
whole IT organization.
Due to the repeatable actions carried out and the transferable results of the process improvement, the introduction of the ISO 9001 Quality System came into force in April instead of the planned date of November, 1998. This means that the results of the PIE were not only disseminated at mid-term, but influenced the whole IT organization of MemoLuX by the overall introduction of the Quality System.
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