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Method for a self-assessment process and tool for conducting key process area assessments

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000012549D
Publication Date: 2003-May-14
Document File: 9 page(s) / 245K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method for a self-assessment process and tool for conducting key process area (KPA) assessments. Benefits include improved functionality, improved useability, improved security, and improved data integrity.

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Method for a self-assessment process and tool for conducting key process area assessments

Disclosed is a method for a self-assessment process and tool for conducting key process area (KPA) assessments. Benefits include improved functionality, improved useability, improved security, and improved data integrity.

Background

� � � � � An organization can survey current practices and determine if the goals defined for software activities have been met by performing an objective process assessment. This periodic audit and reporting system performs several functions, including:

•� � � � Reports current levels of achievement

•� � � � Supports setting goals for improvement

•� � � � Supports planning for achieving the goals

•� � � � Tracks progress toward the goals

        � � � � � This process can be used by organizations to drive continuous improvement in software development.

        � � � � � An audit is performed by the development team and is referred to as a self-assessment. The team reviews and rates its performance in identified KPAs. Each KPA has several activities followed by the group. The individuals in the group assign a score to each activity based on scoring guidelines set by the group. Comments are also collected. The group must achieve a certain overall level to be considered passing for that assessment.

� � � � � Conventionally, many organizations have tried to improve software quality and staff productivity but the software improvement initiatives have typically not succeeded. Attempts that failed reveal some fundamental problems:

•� � � � Gathering assessment data is time consuming.

•� � � � Tabulation and scoring of assessment scores is error-prone and lacks standards.

•� � � � Reporting out the status and data of a self-assessment is a subjective process.

        � � � � � The underlying issue is the insufficient capability to assess the current levels of organizational practices. Without identifying the state of product development practices and achievement, improvement becomes hard if not impossible.

        � � � � � To be effective, management and teams must be involved in software activities, including planning, progress reporting, and problem solving. To facilitate that activity, the current capability of the organization must be assessed. However, the methods conventionally used to gather and present data is ad-hoc. Quality Assurance groups typically conduct audits using questionnaires and interview individuals. This process involves the time and effort of everyone involved. Comments from team members can be misinterpreted and misrepresented when keyed into documents or databases.

        � � � � � Tabulating scores on different KPAs is also a manual and error-prone process. The final status and score on the assessment is then presented from the perspective of the assessor and can be a subjective analysis. Many groups hire external auditors, which has the same disadvantages. Additionally, this solution is expensive and exposes confidential informa...