3 The ASPICE-Processes (VDA Scope)
3.12 SUP.1 – Quality Assurance
What is the purpose?
The quality of work results and processes is planned and is ensured independently and objectively.
What is the benefit?
Quality Assurance (QA) provides an independent view into the project, how it is run and how the processes are executed and work product are created. Consistent process and work product audits identify quality issues and offers the ability to respond to them as soon as they are identified. Finding the issues early reduces the number of errors found in late project phases, reducing expensive rework and effort.
What is the content?
- A project-specific QA strategy is developed and implemented (BP1).
- There needs to be an organizational structure of QA independent of the development organization (BP1). An escalation mechanism (BP6) needs to be established.
- The activities according to the strategy are carried out in order to ensure both the quality of the produced work products (BP2) and the processes (BP3).
- Results of quality assurance activities are summarized and regularly reported (BP4).
- Non-conformances found are assigned to the responsible people for action and are tracked to closure. Action should be taken to prevent that these non-conformances happen again.(BP5)
Experiences, problems and hints
- QA is a concept that covers the entire development process, from initiation, development, and through post-production. It is put in place to provide assurance (to clients, senior management, and other stakeholders) that the development processes have been adhered to and the work products conform to specifications.
- The project manager and the development team, not the QA engineer, are responsible for the quality within the project. The QA engineer supports the project team, e.g., by setting up an effective QA strategy and making sure that this strategy is actually followed. This includes the checks described in BP2 and BP3.
- QA must be independent and performed objectively, without conflicts of interest.
- QA engineers are sometimes responsible for several projects, which often leads to conflicts and a lack of QA support in these projects.
- The implementation of QA for work products is mainly the responsibility of the developers, e.g., reviews and tests of work products. The QA engineer would check whether these activities have been done correctly and completely. Results are reported and in case of problems escalation to management would be initiated.
- It is critically important to establish and document quality criteria by which to judge work product quality against. This helps clarify that doing a review or a test is important, but actually the point is to determine if what was reviewed or tested is actually “good enough” to deliver. To determine this, specific criteria must be established and utilized (e.g., in review checklists).
Automotive SPICE text of Quality Assurance (SUP.1)
The purpose of the Quality Assurance Process is to provide independent and objective assurance that work products and processes comply with predefined provisions and plans and that non-conformances are resolved and further prevented.
BP1: Develop a project quality assurance strategy. Develop a strategy in order to ensure that work product and process quality assurance is performed at project level independently and objectively without conflicts of interest.
NOTE 1: Aspects of independence may be financial and/or organizational structure.
NOTE 2: Quality assurance may be coordinated with, and make use of, the results of other processes such as verification, validation, joint review, audit and problem management.
NOTE 3: Process quality assurance may include process assessments and audits, problem analysis, regular check of methods, tools, documents and the adherence to defined processes, reports and lessons learned that improve processes for future projects.
NOTE 4: Work product quality assurance may include reviews, problem analysis, reports and lessons learned that improve the work products for further use.
BP2: Assure quality of work products. Perform the activities according to the quality assurance strategy and the project schedule to ensure that the work products meet the defined work product requirements and document the results.
NOTE 5: Relevant work product requirements may include requirements from applicable standards.
NOTE 6: Non-conformances detected in work products may be entered into the problem resolution management process (SUP.9) to document, analyze, resolve, track to closure and prevent the problems.
BP3: Assure quality of process activities. Perform the activities according to the quality assurance strategy and the project schedule to ensure that the processes meet their defined goals and document the results.
NOTE 7: Relevant process goals may include goals from applicable standards.
NOTE 8: Problems detected in the process definition or implementation may be entered into a process improvement process (PIM.3) to describe, record, analyze, resolve, track to closure and prevent the problems.
BP4: Summarize and communicate quality assurance activities and results. Regularly report performance, deviations, and trends of quality assurance activities to relevant parties for information and action according to the quality assurance strategy.
BP5: Ensure resolution of non-conformances. Deviations or nonconformance found in process and product quality assurance activities should be analyzed, tracked, corrected, and further prevented.
BP6: Implement an escalation mechanism. Establish and maintain an escalation mechanism according to the quality assurance strategy that ensures that quality assurance may escalate problems to appropriate levels of management and other relevant stakeholders to resolve them.
Output Work Products
Quality plan, Communication Record, Problem record, Quality Record, Review Record, Corrective action register, Quality criteria.
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