Newsletter Article - Tips for defining/ structuring your Procedures!
Software Quality Center LLC is a reputed partner of the CMMI Institute. We have been using CMMI® to help elevate performance for over 15 years and have seen the value of the models to deliver measurable results for our Clients/Organizations. We look forward to continuing to work alongside the CMMI Institute to extend the reach of the CMMI® frameworks to enable individuals and organizations to reach their goals.
We are pleased to share articles written by our Consultants, few of them with you, over the course of next few months, which you will enjoy reading and enjoy as a take-away for your everyday meetings and knowledge. It is also a great way to reinforce concepts of quality in your organization's staff in everyday meetings!
Tips for defining / structuring your Procedures
It is often challenging for the Process Writer to arrive at a good and stable architecture for the Procedures for their company. Most likely it would be renovating an existing architecture or dumping the previous company's model or just take the Quality Model practices ( like ISO and CMMI) and call it the company's procedures. It is quite likely to fall flat since those practices may not be the best fit. Ideally, your procedures must be light weight while being practical and do-able. A basic assumption for this article is that the readers know the definition of a procedure. A couple of tips while defining and structuring your procedures are given below:
Categorizing procedures is the first step to defining them. There are many ways of arriving at this. Some are listed below:
Define them individually - for e.g there could be an Initiation procedure, Planning procedure, Requirement Procedure etc
Categorize them logically into SDLC, Project Management etc procedures. Here, all SDLC phases like Requirements, Design, Coding, Testing and Maintenance can be documented, either as individual procedures or 1 document called Development Procedure or SDLC Procedure or Project Management which has Project Planning, Monitoring and Tracking, Estimation and all related Project Management activities defined
Use the Organization's customised SDLC model and define the procedures using the same terminologies as defined.
Procedures are best defined using a template. This gives uniformity and coverage while making it easy to read and comprehend. Suggested headings in the template are:
- Objective/ Purpose/ Scope
- Acronyms & Definitions
- Roles and Responsibility Assignment Matrix
- Inputs/ Entry Criteria
- Activity/Logical/ Work Flowchart
- Activity Definition / Process description
- Deliverables/ Outputs/ Exit Criteria
- Verification and Validation
- Forms & Templates used in this process
- Tools (if any)
- References & Related processes
Defining a procedure is an art in itself and must be done with due diligence and responsibility, since what you define is what people have to follow. Get the participation of practitioners, since they will be able to give in their inputs, obstacles and objections to following the procedure and above all, when they know they have put in their thoughts into this, they are sure to follow it as well. So, go ahead and define the way you want your organization to function.
Lakshmi Menon (Sr. Consultant -SQC): She has over 10 years of experience in the Information Technology industry with a wide range of skills in the area of quality, especially in CMM and CMMI with a proven record of accomplishments. She has been employed in companies in the capacities of SQA, Auditor, Senior Auditor, SEPG Lead and ATM. She has achieved the CMM and CMMI Level 5 appraisals for the organizations she worked. She has been involved in project management, defining and maintaining the Quality Management System, implementing the processes and training the people on quality.