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Software Development Management: Meeting Expectations

Adam Kolawa

By Adam Kolawa, Parasoft CEO and Co-Founder

Establishing management’s expectation about what defines a completed requirement is essential for driving greater productivity. With expectations clearly defined, the team does not need to waste time trying to figure out exactly what is expected when—or constantly reworking the code to remedy misunderstandings.

Understanding these expectations is just the beginning though. Actually satisfying them can be a daunting task, considering the complexity of software development. Having an automated infrastructure that continually and objectively measures compliance with management’s expectations is vital for making them a reality—without delaying projects or disrupting the team’s optimal workflow.

An SDM system like Parasoft Concerto alleviates this burden by centralizing a defined policy and invoking policy-driven tasks across a distributed development environment. The ultimate goal is passive interaction with the user. The system is an invisible infrastructure that guides the user to achieve policy compliance; it works imperceptibly unless a team member does not comply with management’s defined expectations. Essentially, it is like an EKG system hooked up to a hospital patient. If everything is fine, it runs inconspicuously in the background. But if the patient starts to flatline, alarms are sounded—and the staff knows to react immediately.

Systems like this ensure the continued productivity of resources that are acutely aware of management’s expectations. They also bring new resources up to speed rapidly.

Policy Example—Every Requirement Must Have a Test Case

Software development organizations typically establish formal or informal internal quality policies to ensure the consistent quality of their code. For instance, many internal development policies mandate that every requirement must be validated with a passing test case before it is considered “implemented.”

To help teams implement such a policy, Parasoft Concerto automatically correlates requirements to code and test cases. The system can confirm if the artifacts required by the policy are actually completed. Furthermore, it collects the results of the nightly test case execution to ensure that code is behaving correctly, as defined by the requirement.

Without a system like Parasoft Concerto, implementing even a simple policy like this one can be a daunting effort. Parasoft Concerto will not only remind the developer that a task (in this case, creating a test case) must be completed in order to comply with the policy, but it will also keep management informed of policy compliance. Such centralized policy management and compliance reporting is vital to ensuring that management requests are actually achieved.  

Demonstrating Compliance with Industry- or Government-mandated Policies

Some industry segments must not only define required practices via a policy, but also measure and report on compliance to that policy. In industries where software drives devices that impact human life—for instance, the medical device, defense, and aerospace industries—software development policy definition and compliance is driven by government or industry entities. Traditionally, industries like these have layered in manual practices to accommodate government or industry initiatives, and the lack of centralization or automation of these additional tasks bog down productivity.

For these industries, the challenge is not only achieving compliance, but also improving productivity in order to stay competitive with rapidly-evolving business requirements. Parasoft Concerto takes management expectations, which are defined as a policy, and converts them into actionable, measurable tasks. This helps the organization ensure process consistency while agilely adapting to changing market trends, regulatory environments, and customer demands.

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