Overview > Concepts > Process Assessement and Improvement > Process Quality

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 artifacts.

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 artifacts. That is, if the process is adhered to (high quality), the risk of producing poor quality artifacts is reduced. However, the opposite is not always true—generating high quality artifacts 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:

  • Activity: a description of the activity to be performed and the steps required to perform the activity.
  • Work Guideline: techniques and practical advice useful for performing the activity.
  • Artifact Guidelines and Checkpoints: information on how to develop, evaluate, and use the artifact.
  • Templates: models or prototypes of the artifact that provide structure and guidance for content.

In general, everyone is responsible for implementing and adhering to the agreed-upon process, and to make sure the quality of the artifacts 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 Best Practice: Continuously Verify Quality, the section  titled "Who Owns Quality" for further information.

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