by Cristina Alberto
The CFS, Software Tools Centre, is a unit of technology transfer at INESC, which focus its activity in the software development process area. This centre has a team of consultants that assures the support to software producers in the portuguese industry, in the following activities:
In addition, CFS has an agreement of collaboration with IPQ - Instituto Portugues da Qualidade, the portuguese body responsible for quality certification, to establish directives concerning the certification and audit processes for software producers.
Later, INESC established a consortium with PARTEX, between CFS and PARTEX's Quality Engineering Division, whose main activity was to provide consultancy in the ISO 9000 quality assurance process to the general industry. The consortium allowed both entities to enlarge their services to the ISO 9000 quality assurance in the software industry, working together in teams of two consultants, merging the CFS expertise in the software development process and the PARTEX expertise in ISO 9000. Meanwhile, the CFS consultants team attended several training courses in the IPQ certification methodologies and in the Tickit methodology.
CFS was involved in the implementation of the quality system of the first portuguese software producer to obtain the IPQ certification. Afterwards, CFS has been providing consultancy to several software producer enterprises in the portuguese market realising assessments, accompanying the implementation of the software quality assurance process, performing audits, and providing consultancy in the software development improvement.
CFS also promotes the divulgation of initiatives of european programmes offering financial incentives to the software industry. Namely, the divulgation of the ESSI (European Systems and Software Initiative) initiative of the ESPRIT - European Specific Programme for Information Technologies and the divulgation of PRATIC, the specific portuguese government programme for the development of the Information and Communications Technologies sector which distributes the european funds for the portuguese industry. When divulging these programmes CFS is available to answer any question the enterprises might have about the programmes and offers its services to help them preparing their proposals, and to participate in the projects admitted by the European Commission, providing technical consultancy. CFS was invited by IPQ to participate and promote several initiatives in the AQUIS - Aumento da QUalidade na Industria de Software (Quality Improvement in the Software Industry) project, which is an ESPITI (European Software Process Improvement Training Initiative) project whose goal is to promote improvements in the software development process in the portuguese industry. In this project CFS participates in the following activities:
In the present, people at CFS are happy with their contribution in promoting the software engineering best practices to the portuguese software industry, and aims at the achievement of a greater efficiency, higher quality and greater economy in this sector, in a near future.