Since the model we developed represents a cultural change for most organizations, the manner in which the process is implemented is critically important to the overall success of the program.  As such, the purpose of this section is to provide a framework for establishing an effective Defect Management Program.  The implementation approach presented in this section is based on the following general philosophies:

Senior Management must understand, support, and be a part of the Defect Management Program.

The Defect Management process should be integrated into the overall software development process.

The bulk of the defect measurement, collection, and analysis work should be implemented by individual project teams not by an independent function.  An independent function, such as a Quality Assurance function, may be appropriate to support the project teams and to provide departmental consolidation and analysis of the information.

To the extent practical, the process should be repeatable and automated.

Specific development approaches (e.g., testing, inspections, etc.) should be chosen based on project objectives and risks that must be addressed.

Process improvement efforts should be driven by the measurement process.

It should be noted, the process does not require a significant investment, yet will likely result in significant payback.

The basic steps to establish a defect management program are as follows:

Process Implementation

Define Critical Defect Metrics   --  The first step in establishing a defect management program is to understand the organization's objectives.  These objectives should point to the defect measures that are most important to the organization.

Identify Critical Risks   --  The next step is to understand the critical risks the organization faces when developing and maintaining software.

Identify Process Improvements  --  Once the critical metrics have been defined and the critical risks have been identified, one can identify the areas where process improvements are needed.

Develop Defect Management Plan  --  The Defect Management Plan documents the results of the earlier steps and defines the implementation strategy for the Defect Management Program.

Pilot the Defect Management Process -- The concept of a pilot project is designed to implement the program in a controlled manner so that issues and obstacles to successful implementation can be identified and resolved quickly.  

These steps are defined in more detail in subsequent pages.