Supervised Master's theses

Johan Thiborg-Ericson:
Filling In Safety Impact Analysis Forms (Quality, Efficiency and Soft Issues),
summary, report, March, 2014.


A company wanted a tool to improve the general correctness, quality, efficiency and handling of a form. The form was filled in by developers to document their work with impact analysis during corrective maintenance of the software. There were answers to some of the questions in the form that were missing, inconsistent or contained irony. The most severe problems were caused by bad layout of the questions, disagreement about when to add new regression tests and the fact that developers copied old filled in forms to fill in new forms faster. The biggest efficiency problems were answering the question which got ironic answers (How could this problem been avoided?) and that impact analysis was hard in the old parts of the system. Some developers did not seem comfortable talking about what they thought of the form, for some reason. Four handling problems are identified. The developers copied old forms, implemented bug fixes before the CCB had allowed them to do so and worked with many forms simultaneously. Also, there was long time between when the forms were filled in and when they were reviewed.

The recommended solutions are that the company incorporates a policy on how safety precautions and efficiency of the process should be balanced in the employees' daily work. Meanwhile, they should assign representatives for the developers to whom the other developers might express their thoughts anonymously. The representatives should forward these thoughts to the ones responsible for developing the process at regular scheduled meetings. The question with ironic answers should not be mandatory or be removed since no root cause analysis model suggests collecting proposed process improvements in this way. The time between writing and reviewing the form should be shorter. A new state should be introduced for the forms, to distinguish the forms that are ready to be put in the report to the third part certification organ from those which aren't. It is not recommended to make a solution based on a tool since it could only solve one of the severe problems, and that problem will solve itself eventually anyway.

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