The aim of the research described in this thesis is to evaluate the effectiveness of software quality assurance approaches of Sri Lankan offshore software development organizations, and to propose a framework which could be used across all offshore software development organizations. An empirical study was conducted using derived framework from popular software quality evaluation models. The research instrument employed was a questionnaire survey among thirty seven Sri Lankan registered offshore software development organizations. The findings demonstrate a positive view of Effectiveness of Software Quality Assurance – the stronger predictors of Stability, Installability, Correctness, Testability and Changeability. The present study’s recommendations indicate a need for much emphasis on software quality assurance for the Sri Lankan offshore software development organizations.
Keywords: Software Quality Assurance (SQA), Offshore Software Development, Quality Assurance Evaluation Models, Effectiveness of Quality Assurance.
1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Software Quality Assurance (QA) plays a major role in successful implementation and maintenance of a software project. In many organizations, QA has been simply traded-off to project cost . The motivation of this research is to highlight the value of Software Quality Assurance against the economic cost. The IEEE standard ANSI/IEEE 730-2002 defines software quality assurance as “a planned and systematic pattern of all actions necessary to provide adequate confidence that the software conforms to established technical requirements”. QA is not only holding a direct relationship of meeting customer satisfaction, but it has a very high impact on project schedules and cost. Failing to pay attention is often resulted in budget overruns and schedule delays . Software Quality Assurance has paid back in many industries such as telecommunication, health, travel, law, hospital, government and schools in many American organizations. • A system of teaching hospitals conservatively estimates $17.8 million saved on an investment of $2.5 million in quality management over a five-year time period. • The University of Pennsylvania saved more than $60,000 a year from one project focused on reducing mailing cost. • The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reduced the time needed to produce the monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI), compiled by 650 people in five departments, by 33 percent with no loss in accuracy.  Even in Sri Lankan software engineering companies, have been recognized QA as an important element. In 2005, Affno (www.affno.lk) has won the National Best Quality Software Gold Award for their product – eTender, which developed for Sri Lanka Telecom to automate their tendering process .
2 THEORETICAL BASE OF THE STUDY 2.1 WHAT IS SOFTWARE QUALITY The IEEE standard ANSI/IEEE 730-2002 defines software quality assurance as “a planned and systematic pattern of all actions necessary to provide adequate confidence that the software conforms to established technical requirements”. By going down the path of IEEE definition, there are two major camps when defining software quality: 1. Conformance to specification: quality defines in terms of the level which the product or service meets its’ written specifications. 2. Meeting customer needs: meeting customer’s explicit or implicit needs, irrespective of any measurable product or service characteristics. Currently software quality assurance is measured in two ways: from technical perspective and from user perspective. In the technical perspective of measuring software quality is based on specifications. Developers measure quality and ensure specifications in terms of errors in code through testing process and through other mechanisms...