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Quality Certifications and What they Mean in Software Development

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									Quality Certifications and What they Mean in Software Development
Large scale software development companies are still quite young and the
software industry itself is a fairly new one. Outsourcing of software
development has been around for only a couple of decades and as the
industry gains maturity, quality certification has taken on a whole new
meaning for suppliers as well as customers. Quality certification in
software is slightly different from quality certification in
manufacturing. Though a number of business process management and quality
control principles are derived from popular quality certifications, the
implementation and implications are noticeably different.
There are two broad types of quality certifications which can be obtained
by software development companies. One is the ISO 9001:2000 standard and
the other is various levels of SEI CMM. Some organizations may achieve an
ISO first and then work towards an SEI CMM level certification whereas
some may go directly to an SEI CMM certification. ISO certification
however, is a lot easier than SEI CMM (as well a lot cheaper) and thus
the number of companies with ISO certifications are quite a few whereas
SEI CMM level companies are not so many in number.
One of the key benefits of quality certification in a software
development company is that it showcases the maturity and continuity of
the organization. Both quality certifications pay attention to processes.
ISO guidelines state that you should define a process and make sure that
it is being followed whereas SEI CMM dictates certain parameters of a
process within which the company should work. Achieving certification and
maintaining the documented processes provides a long term growth pattern
in the company and at the same time helps in building a differentiating
factor with customers.
Apart from the maturity and continuity of the organization, software
development companies need quality certification to ensure the success of
large projects. Tried and tested development methodologies which are part
of the certification process ensure that the coding and designing
produced by the company are of a high standard and will withstand the
test of use and durability. Customers planning to do business with a
quality certified company find it much easier to get a good quality
software product. Non-certified companies have a tough time when
competing with a certified company and that is the reason why more and
more software development companies are moving towards quality
certification.
Most medium to large companies are moving towards SEI CMM level
certification as that quality certification has been developed with
software development in mind. There are various levels of the
certification and level 5 is the highest a software development company
can achieve. The entire certification process for SEI CMM level is
lengthy, time consuming and quite expensive when compared with ISO
9001:2000 but the benefits compensate often compensate for that.
So if you are a software company and have not yet gone down the path of
certification, it is time you gave it serious thought. If you are an
organization looking to outsource software development work to companies
in India, China, the Philippines, Poland or parts of Eastern Europe, it
is advisable that you consider their quality certifications. Though we
have mostly mentioned ISO 9001:2000 quality certifications, there are
other industry and technology specific certifications which can also be
obtained by software development companies. Usually these certifications
are given by software manufacturers or independent bodies and though they
might not be as critical as the quality certifications mentioned, they
have a good level of importance when evaluating a supplier.


								
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