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Quality Assurance

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IR Technologies SeaPort-e Quality Assurance

IR Tech has Quality Assurance (QA) policies and processes in place at the Software Engineering Institute’s Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) Maturity Level 3. Our QA activities are integrated with our overall Process Improvement activities which apply to the entire company and are implemented and monitored by an independent Engineering Process Group (EPG). The EPG reports directly to IR Tech’s COO.

The IR Tech QA Process starts with each Project Plan so QA is integrated at each project’s inception by the Project Manager (PM). The PM uses IR Tech document and reporting templates throughout the Project’s lifecycle to ensure completeness, coherence and cross-project continuity. IR Tech’s Project Management processes are defined in an integrated set of Handbooks which institute the industry-recognized de facto standard for software development (the Software Engineering Institute’s CMMI Level 3) as the guideline for process improvement, and as the standard to meet. Moreover, use of this standard provides the ability to measure progress of improvements.

At the beginning of the project, the PM provides a draft Project Management Plan (PMP) to the EPG for review and comment. The EPG reviews the PMP for compliance with all relevant policies, procedures and regulations. Once the PMP meets all known requirements the EPG signs off, indicating it has passed a quality assurance review. The EPG will then assign an EPG representative to the project.

Throughout the Project’s lifecycle, Process Reviews are scheduled at the discretion of Senior Management and are planned in advance. Frequency of reviews will depend on the size and duration of the project. The first review occurs within one month of the beginning of the project.

To perform a Project QA Review, the EPG (external to the Project or Team) representative evaluates the project activities and work products by reviewing artifacts against the PMP and designated standards and procedures to verify compliance. The EPG representative reviews the project PMP and other project artifacts against the checklist to make a preliminary evaluation of the project’s activities and work products for compliance with IR Tech’s standard processes. The EPG representative then schedules an interview with the PM and other staff, as needed, to complete the evaluation using our standard Process Review Checklist.

The EPG representative then analyzes the information collected and prepares a draft QA Review Report, which may include Opportunities To Improve (OTIs) and/or Corrective Action Requests (CARS). Notations used in the QA Review Report are as follows:

– Investigate Further (IF) = Action Item for EPG
– Follow-up Required (FOR) = Action Item for EPG
– Opportunity to Improve (OTI) = Suggestion to Project Manager/Team
– Corrective Action Request (CAR) = Request for Corrective Action to the Project Manager/Team

The EPG representative then meets with the PM to discuss the Draft Project Review Report.

The EPG representative and PM establish agreement and understanding of the QA Review Report and resulting Action Items, OTIs and CARs. Action Items are items on which the EPG representative will need to perform follow-up during the period between Project Process Reviews. Action Items are categorized as Investigate Further (IF) or Follow-Up Required (FOR). OTIs are suggestions for improvement from the EPG representative to the project team. CARs are corrective actions that need to be taken by the project team in order to be in compliance with CESA processes or some other regulation or standard.

Based on the results of the above meeting, the EPG representative will prepare a final process Review Report, with attached list of OTIs and/or CARs in an Excel spreadsheet. The final report with any attachments is distributed to the PM and COO. The PM is expected to review the results with their team. A summary of all process reviews and follow-up activities is presented to the COO at least once every three months by the overall EPG in the form of a quarterly review.

Within one week of distribution of the Project Process Review Report, the PM assigns the CAR(s) to the appropriate team member with a due date and notifies the EPG representative of that date. The EPG representative monitors progress on CARs and tracks them to closure. If CARs cannot be resolved at the project level, then the EPG representative escalates the issue to the COO. The EPG representative maintains a list of action item discovered during the QA review for follow-up. These action items are categorized as “Investigate Further” or “Follow up Required.

IR Tech’s QA policies provide management with appropriate visibility into the processes being used by the project. QA involves reviewing process activities and work products to ensure adherence with the applicable standards, regulations, policies and procedures. The results of the reviews are communicated to the project manager and Senior Management. The decision of how much of IR Tech’s QA resources to be applied on which projects is made at the discretion of Senior Management. Through this QA process and its reviews, we ensure the clarity, compliance, presentation, and completeness of all deliverables. Upon completion of a review, the EPG representative verifies that all defects have been resolved and certifies the deliverable before submission to the client.
Monitoring and Controlling Costs

An essential part of the Project Management Plan is the Project Monitoring and Control (PMC) Plan. The PMC Plan always addresses cost as a core metric. IR Tech views Monitoring and Controlling Costs as integral to overall Project Monitoring and Control. The PM creates a project PMC Plan by filling out the IR Tech PMC Plan template. The specific measures to be collected may vary based on the project type and size but always includes cost. The project’s array of metrics is ascertained with the approval of the EPG and COO. The minimum required measurements for project monitoring and control are related size, effort, cost/budget, schedule, and status of high-level risks. Other measurements may be added as deemed necessary or appropriate for the project.

Upon award of a Task, the PM holds a meeting with the project team (or this may be conducted as part of the Project Kickoff) to plan the logistics for collecting and reporting cost and performance metrics. These logistics include establishing the frequency of data collection, analysis, reporting, and review meetings. Project team members will be assigned specific tasks associated with measurement collection and reporting.

Measurements on the status of cost, project commitments, risks, and stakeholder involvement are monitored. Project team members regularly report estimated and actual effort expended on tasks. Team members also periodically report certain attributes of the tasks on which they are working, such as the size and complexity of the tasks. The PM monitors progress against the timeline in the schedule, capturing the actual completion of activities and milestones. Likewise the PM monitors the costs of the project in comparison to the budget.

Any significant deviations from any planned parameters are identified. Measurements are archived in a repository for reference by the existing project and ultimately for use in reference to future projects.

The PM prepares and submits a Project Status Report to the EPG and COO and (as appropriate) other stakeholders as defined in the PMP. These reports’ frequency are also documented in the PMP. Regular status against the project planning and risk parameters are included in the report, as well as any identified issues. Any measurements which have exceeded management thresholds or may prevent meeting the project’s objectives, must be brought to the EPG’s and COO’s attention. The actions to be taken are:

– If the project is “on track,” simply continue collecting and analyzing project measures.

– If the project is not “on track” but issues are within the scope of the PMP, appropriate corrective action is planned and managed to closure. Continue collecting and recording project measurements.

– If the project is not “on track” and an issue(s) are determined to be outside the scope of the PMP, a decision must be made to either a) revise the PMP to address the issues, or b) request a Change Order to provide for resolution of the issues, and then revise the PMP accordingly.

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