Outcome-Based Acquisition

Source: Shutterstock
Source: Shutterstock

Posted: March 14, 2016 | By: Roger Stewart

2) Inspection Tools

The management strategy of having meaningful metrics is satisfied by computerized Inspection tools that ensure correct and compliant Inspection implementation of the 2008 Inspection Standard. Inspection tools also provide repeatability, consistency, and outcome-based measurements throughout the development process. The continuous output of an Inspection tool suite during product development is the basis for:

  • Ongoing ‘Product’ evaluations with actions identified and resolution status visible
  • The auditable outcome-based  acquisition process

The characteristics of an Inspection tool suite that is compliant with the 2008 Inspection Standard and generates outcome-based measurements can be found in our earlier CrossTalk article [14] and are summarized in figure 3.  Inspection tools are required to aide upper management responsibilities for Inspection planning, execution, monitoring, and result tracking.  For example,

Inspection Planning Tools that support ‘what-if ‘scenarios, prior to commitment to project Inspections, using industry data or previous project metrics to estimate: the number of inspections needed, hours invested to find and fix defects by Inspection, number and percentage of defects removed by inspection, number of defects and hours for removal of remaining defects by testing during development and post-delivery operation, hours for defect removal without using Inspections, and expected net project hours saved from incorporating inspections.


Figure 3: Supplier Inspection Tools for Outcome-Based Acquisition

Inspection Execution Tools that support Inspection team leaders in determining their team’s readiness to proceed, logging – categorizing – prioritizing defect find & fix status, identifying Inspection process compliance exposures, computing actual hours invested and resulting net savings estimate and return-on-investment (ROI) for each inspection, generating a one-page inspection summary and compliance report for management monitoring.


Figure 4: Inspection Execution Tool use during an Inspection

Inspection Tracking Tools that consolidate and graph inspection metrics for each inspection type (Requirements, Design, Text, Code, Test Fixes); and a consolidated 1-page management dashboard roll-up summary for all Inspections types conducted to-date with supporting graphs.

Project Quality Measurement Tool that provides a running comparison throughout development for achieving Project Quality Plan defect removal goals with the actual defect removals experienced to-date from inspections, testing, and other defect removal capabilities.  Inspection tool capabilities also resolve common issues related to why Inspections are not performed:

  • many/most Inspection implementations are significantly flawed to the point of the process being discarded
  • Inspections are mistakenly felt to be too costly or that they take too long
  • Inspections are implemented only on code (not true)
  • Inspections are thought to be obsolete in today’s environment (not true)

Figure 4 identifies where Inspection Execution tools are used during an Inspection.

An important aspect of successful use of Inspections is the ability to collect, analyze, and take action based on data (measurements) collected [6].  Inspection tools must collect data at specific points during Inspections to enable management to continuously monitor and assess product development status, track product defect removal against quality plan goals, and quality trends between product components, releases and other projects.

Another benefit of the consistent measurements provided by Inspection tools is the ability for an independent 3rd party Inspection expert or government program office agent to evaluate the results of Inspections by quantifying Inspection benefits and reporting product status for use by either the acquirer’s program manager (e.g., government) or the product supplier’s management.

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