Software Engineering-Configuration Audit


Identification, version control, and change control help the software developer to maintain order in what would otherwise be a chaotic and fluid situation. However, even the most successful control mechanisms track a change only until an ECO is generated. How can we ensure that the change has been properly implemented? The answer is twofold: (1) formal technical reviews and (2) the software configuration audit.

The formal technical review focuses on the technical correctness of the configuration object that has been modified. The reviewers assess the SCI to determine consistency with other SCIs, omissions, or potential side effects. A formal technical review should be conducted for all but the most trivial changes.

A software configuration audit complements the formal technical review by assessing a configuration object for characteristics that are generally not considered during review. The audit asks and answers the following questions:

1. Has the change specified in the ECO been made? Have any additional modifications been incorporated?
2. Has a formal technical review been conducted to assess technical correctness?
3. Has the software process been followed and have software engineering standards been properly applied?
4. Has the change been "highlighted" in the SCI? Have the change date and change author been specified? Do the attributes of the configuration object reflect the change?
5. Have SCM procedures for noting the change, recording it, and reporting it been followed?
6. Have all related SCIs been properly updated?

In some cases, the audit questions are asked as part of a formal technical review. However, when SCM is a formal activity, the SCM audit is conducted separately by the quality assurance group.
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