ERCIM News No.23 - October 1995 - GMD

Tailoring and Conformance Testing of Software Processes - The ProcePT Approach

by Dieter Welzel

In order to provide evidence for test of the quality of a software product, the product's development process has to be specified and tested against standards and regulations. Based on a generic process model, activities and documents are identified and tailored until a dedicated process model is obtained for both the company level as well as the project level. Process adaptation is conducted stepwise depending on the conditions and constraints to be considered (e.g. ISO 9000). The ProcePT approach (Process Programming and Testing) provides a rule-based framework to supports these steps.

ProcePT supports the specification and testing of dedicated process models in particular for the German standard process model "Vorgehensmodell" (V-Model). The V-Model is required by the German government, and its use is widespread in the German IT industry. It has also influenced EUROMETHOD, the European project for the integration of software process models.

The V-Model identifies the documents and activities which are relevant for software development on different abstraction levels. It groups selected activities and documents into sub-models such as: software development, project management, quality assurance, and configuration management. A testable process description requires a formal notation for the activities and documents, their interactions, and for their refinement and generalisation. A rule-based system has been developed to support both the specification and testing. Adaptations to other process models like SSADM or MERISE are possible.

Planing Software Processes with ProcePT
The ProcePT Prototype

The ProcePT prototype (Prolog program of about 3700 rules) offers on-line browsing of the V-Model, the tailoring procedures, and the testing requirements (such as ISO 9000). Documents and activities are tailored according pre-defined rules or in a direct manner. In such transformation several tests are conducted:

The adaptation procedures as well as the conformity testing to standards (e.g. ISO 9001, internal regulations) are reported in a protocol that can be used for process audit. The data of a specified model are made available via an SQL-interface (Structured Query Language). A final result of ProcePT is a project handbook. At present project management aspects, such as planning , testing of resources and process simulation, are investigated.

ProcePT provides support for:

Adaptation with ProcePT

Today ProcePT is used also for modelling and assessing company or project-specific process models and for embedding process models in organisations together with the "GMD Guides to software evaluation".

Please contact:
Dieter Welzel - GMD
Tel: + 49 2241 14 3226
or Hans-Ludwig Hausen - GMD
Tel: +49 2241 14 3224

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