Concept: Process Quality
This guidance describes the basic concept of process quality, and how RUP can be used to evaluate process and product quality.
Related Elements
Main Description

Process quality refers to the degree to which an acceptable process, including measurements and criteria for quality, has been implemented and adhered to in order to produce the work products.

Software development requires a complex web of sequential and parallel steps. As the scale of the project increases, more steps must be included to manage the complexity of the project. All processes consist of product activities and overhead activities. Product activities result in tangible progress toward the end product. Overhead activities have an intangible impact on the end product, and are required for the many planning, management, and assessment tasks.

The objectives of measuring and assessing process quality are to:

  • Manage profitability and resources
  • Manage and resolve risk
  • Manage and maintain budgets, schedules, and quality
  • Capture data for process improvement

To some degree, adhering to a process and achieving high process quality overlaps somewhat with the quality of the work products. That is, if the process is adhered to (high quality), the risk of producing poor quality work products is reduced. However, the opposite is not always true-generating high quality work products is not necessarily an indication that the process has been adhered to.

Therefore, process quality is measured not only to the degree to which the process was adhered to, but also to the degree of quality achieved in the products produced by the process.

To aid in your evaluation of the process and product quality, the Rational Unified Process (RUP) has included pages such as:

  • Task: a description of the task to be performed and the steps required to perform the task.
  • Guideline: techniques and practical advice useful for performing the task.
  • Work Product Guidelines and Checklists: information on how to develop, evaluate, and use the work product.
  • Templates: models or prototypes of the work product that provide structure and guidance for content.

See Concept: Task, Concept: Steps and Concept:Work Product Guidelines and Checklists for additional information.

In general, everyone is responsible for implementing and adhering to the agreed-upon process, and to make sure the quality of the work products produced achieve the agreed-upon quality. However, specific roles, such as the Project Manager, may have specific tasks that identify and impact the process quality. See Concept: Focus Continuously On Quality for further information.

Also see Concept: Measuring Quality, Product Quality, and Discipline: Introduction to Project Management for additional information.

For information about customizing the RUP, see Concept: Tailoring RUP.