Original Date: 12/06/2004
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : MEARS Software Quality Assurance
The U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command Integrated Materiel Management Center/Multi-User Engineering Change Proposal Automated Review System Support Group transferred their Software Quality Assurance Processes from an informal to a formalized, systematic approach. This new approach has resulted in increased test coverage of their product line and a higher quality product.
The U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command (AMCOM) Integrated Materiel Management Center (IMMC)/Multi- User Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) Automated Review System (MEARS) Support Group produced an outstanding, web-enabled ECP tool known as MEARS. This tool uses an informal approach to software quality assurance but a more formalized, systematic approach to testing. Prior to 2004, there was little systematic effort spent on quality assurance in integration testing, creating test cases, analyzing test coverage, and using test matrices to keep track of test cases for each functional area in MEARS. Instead, testing consisted of developers performing all of the software testing. In spite of this, the IMMC/MEARS Support Group developers conducted thorough unit testing, testing the software/kit libraries, and beta server testing.
Recently, the IMMC/MEARS Support Group took a more systematic approach by tracking defects, performing regression testing on each build, publishing software modifications to the beta server, performing database verification, and testing software kits. Steps are taken to ensure that the test environment is valid by carefully controlling and monitoring the beta server’s configuration that mimics the production server environment. The latest code is then pulled from the visual source safe, a single machine build is performed, items are moved to the kit area, and a software kit is installed. The software kits fall into two categories new installs and upgrades. The software kits are thoroughly tested with their database scripts, and the installation instructions are carefully reviewed and checked for clarity and completeness.
In-depth unit testing is performed on five development areas. Once MEARS passes unit testing, regression testing is performed on the beta server to verify fixes to software defects and ensure that previously fixed defects have not manifested themselves. The code is also carefully checked for conformity to specifications. Database verification on the beta server consists of back-end testing by first saving-off the database, applying updated scripts, and executing the scripts in the database to create a release database. A WinDiff is then performed on the generated scripts and differences are verified.
The IMMC/MEARS Support Group coordinates beta testing performed by Customer Support personnel who also provide meaningful feedback for new ideas and suggestions on the ease of the user interface. Problems are isolated and tracked, and customer feedback is similarly tracked and quickly resolved. Future improvements to incorporate additional quality assurance steps will mirror the quality assurance process found in the Department of Energy Quality Assurance template at: http://cio.doe.gov/ITReform/sqse/download/qap2.doc. The IMMC/MEARS Support Group’s success with MEARS is due to their responsiveness in addressing the concerns of customers and their efforts to continuously analyze and improve their processes and product line.
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