Original Date: 11/03/1996
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Software Quality Assurance at Y-12
The Oak Ridge Y-12 Plant, a major developer and user of computer software, initiated a formal program in 1983 to control software quality. All formal procedures and requirements relating to software were collected and analyzed by a team of eight to ten personnel from organizations that develop, use, or are affected by software. The team developed a system for classifying software by risk, size, and use as a basis for arraying quality procedures and requirements on a rational basis. After this array was developed, it was reviewed by almost 150 people in the affected organizations to produce a consensus document that was acceptable to all Y-12 areas.
Once the Reference Source, a comprehensive notebook, was completed, the developer recognized that a culture change would be needed to put the complex material into use quickly. An extensive program was therefore developed, beginning with training for sixteen people who would become the trainers. This effort was followed by general awareness programs and more specific training for managers and users.
Although a comprehensive notebook was needed to document the requirements and procedures, it was recognized that comprehension and consistent application would be difficult. A contract was awarded to a local firm to develop two self-contained Hypertext disk versions for personal computers (IBM and Macintosh). These single disk systems, which were provided during the training sessions, have largely replaced the notebooks for most users. They enable personnel to identify the roles of specific organizations, the requirements and the reasons for the requirements for each class of software in each stage of the software life cycle.
In combination, the rationally developed requirements and procedures, the mandatory training programs for all associated with software development and maintenance, and the convenient hypertext reference for quick referral, comprise a well-designed software quality system. Software validation and testing provisions have been included in the procedures. While this system may not be directly transferable to other organizations as a package because of unique requirements, it could be an excellent guide for others who must develop software quality systems of their own.
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