Friday, March 19, 2010

PPQA After Maturity Level 2

I work in an IT organization that achieved CMMI Maturity Level 2 several years ago (we let the rating lapse) and I was wondering if you had some ideas on the following two questions:

1) What types of activities would PPQA engage in if the org had been Maturity Level 2 (I think they could have pursued Maturity Level 3 and been close)? Please also consider that the company is pursuing other types of improvement methods and models such as lean/6-sigma and ITIL.

2) What strategies should we pursue to show the worth of PPQA? Even in the good old CMM days and SQA one of the issues I had was that it was difficult to show the practical monetary worth of these support functions; one generally had to take it on faith that PPQA/SQA delivered some degree of worth to the company. Any thoughts?

The answer to question 1 is simple. Just read the PPQA Process Area and GP 2.9. The PPQA activities include performing both process and work product audits of the project and organization processes. For Maturity Level 2 that would mean auditing your REQM, PP, PMC, SAM, MA, PPQA, and CM processes.

The answer to question 2 is a bit more difficult. Basically you are asking, what is the cost of quality? One method you can use is to look at the total cost for the project and analyze it using Crosby’s Cost of Quality Model. The total costs break down into two categories: the Cost of Quality and the Cost of Performance.

The Cost of Performance includes such things as: generating plans, documentation, and developing requirements, design, code, and integration.

The Cost of Quality breaks down further into two categories: Cost of Conformance and Cost of Non-Conformance.

The Cost of Non-Conformance includes fixing defects, reworking documents, updating source code, re-reviews, re-tests, patches, engineering changes, CCBs, external failures and fines, Customer Support, and Help Desk.

The Cost of Conformance breaks down to two more categories: Cost of Appraisal and Cost of Prevention.

The Cost of Appraisal includes reviews, walkthroughs, testing (first time), independent V&V, and Audits.

The Cost of Prevention includes training, policies, procedures, tools, planning, quality improvement, data gathering and analysis, root cause analysis, and quality reporting.

The cost of PPQA is included in the Cost of Prevention.

When you consider these definitions and cost break down, the only category that will be affected by PPQA is the Cost of Non-Conformance. When PPQA audits the processes and work products, the audits will reveal non-conformances with people following the documented processes and procedures, which lead to re-work. By addressing these non-conformances, the goal is to reduce or effectively eliminate the rework and that is where you can demonstrate the value of PPQA.

Hope this helps.

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