Quality affects production since most people are motivated and want to build their self esteem by producing a quality product.
There are several quality characteristics which will affect the cost of the system. These include:
- Maintain - How difficult is it to update and make changes to the software or hardware? This can be a major expense to the overall cost of the project. Using the correct software methodology such as UML can greatly reduce this cost. When the system involves hardware, planning ahead and using methods similar to UML and the Rational Unified Process is worthwhile. Up front requirements determination is important along with hardware drawings and diagrams before and during system design. Are there tools that can be used to verify performance of hardware and thereby aid in maintaining the system?
- Testing - How easily can the software or system be tested?
- Software platform independence (portable) - How easy is it to run the software on another system? Is the hardware compatable with all required systems?
There are several quality characteristics of systems or product that affect the way customers view its quality. These include:
- Reliability - Is the system always running without problems and how long will it last over the long run?
- Accuracy/Integrity - How accurate is the information produced by the system?
- Integration - Will the system work with other systems?
- Robust - Will the system work well in harsh environments and in extreme circumstances?
- Efficient - Is the software or hardware efficient enough that the system performs well with a heavy load of work?
- User friendliness - Is the system an easy to use user friendly system?
- Security - Is the system data and the system itself secure from unauthorized use?
- Scalability - Will the system respond well to increased user demand over the long term?
- Failure Management - How well does the system respond with a component failure? Can it continue operation or notify an administrator of the failure?
It is important to get some determination of these characteristics early in the design cycle. Some of these characteristics may help determine the design methodology to be used on the project. The customers, management, and developers should get together to determine the relative importance and costs of the above system characteristics. Sometimes these measurements may be judgemental, but depending on requirements and the value of measuring these parameters, try to specify a minimum and maximum value for the appropriate characteristics. For instance, as the system runs, record how many times the system may have failed in a manner which customers could notice. Then it can be determined if reliability is too low.
In large companies there may be a need for an auditing team. They will audit projects and progress. Auditors should have these characteristics and qualifications:
- Be objective with no project involvement.
- Good communication skills (writing and listening)
- Must be technically competent.
- Should have supervisor experience.
- Must enjoy auditing.
- A mix of specialists and those with broad backgrounds should be on the team.
- Must be analytical.
- Must be adaptable and mature.
- Material control and logistics
- Auditing and documentation