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Examples of past consulting engagements

The following are a few examples of past consulting engagements for Mission-Critical Projects:

I provided two customized training courses in Software Verification and Validation - one for NASA Kennedy Space Center and one for NASA Langley Research Center. Both courses were developed based on using internal NASA standards and procedures. The KSC course was videotaped and made available throughout the NASA community.

For a division of a large international software development company:
I worked with their staff to improve their testing processes. Their SQA staff included domain experts located in the US and offshore testers located in India. The tasks I performed included:

  • Reviewed existing test planning documents and test scripts
  • Based on this review, I prepared custom tailored 2-day training session for the US and offshore testing teams.

Some of the topics included in this training session were:
  • Overview of Test Planning
  • Problems Associated With Testing Against Requirements
  • Alternative Ways of Expressing Requirements to Improve Testability
  • Levels of Testing
  • Effective Testing Methods
  • Types of Tests
  • Test Case templates
  • Practice Exercises

Other topics that I provided consulting help on included:

Test Effectiveness Metrics
I identified several measures that can be used to assess the effectiveness of the testing efforts.

Root Cause Analysis
I prepared a workshop on Root Cause Analysis as applied to software defects. I trained a cross-functional team including developers, QA, and Customer Support staff in the process. We then applied the process to selected customer reported defects in order to understand why those defects were not detected prior to release.

Requirements Writing Workshop for Product Marketing
The results of the Root Cause Analysis of customer reported defects revealed that a significant number of defects were caused by poorly written requirements. I prepared a custom tailored workshop on writing requirements for the Product Marketing staff. The objective was to give them some better writing skills and techniques (like Structured English, Truth Tables, Flowcharts and work flow diagrams) that they could use to express requirements in a way that is less ambiguous and more testable.

Defect Tracking
I was responsible for migrating the defect tracking system from an outdated system to a corporate defect tracking tool. This migration process resulted in developing a new defect life cycle model and tailored training in the use of the new defect tracking system.

For a human resources software company:
I provided on-site training in effective Peer Review techniques to an outsourced software development and testing organization in India. I also facilitated two Project Retrospectives that resulted in identifying several areas for improvement and many areas where poor communication resulted in avoidable rework.

For a European telecommunications manufacturer:
I performed a process assessment to identify strengths and weaknesses in existing process. From several staff interviews, I prepared an assessment report that highlighted areas where process improvement effort would result in tangible improvement in product quality and time to market.

For a large US Defense Contractor:
I provided a tailored on-site workshop in performing peer reviews and inspections. This workshop was tailored to the client's specific environment. Following the workshop, I participated in several inspections as Moderator to help ensure that the peer review process was being used effectively.

For a mid-sized semiconductor technology company:
I performed an assessment audit of their development process. As a result of interviewing Managers and staff, I prepared a detailed assessment report with specific recommendations for improvement. These recommendations built on the fact that their work (developing ASICs) had strong parallels to traditional software development.

For a small customer relationship management (CRM) software company:
I worked with senior management to develop a cost-effective software development process. I provided training to the staff in how to perform formal inspections and how to more accurately estimate and schedule tasks. I worked with the SQA Manager to improve the effectiveness of the testing that is currently performed.

For a large semiconductor process equipment manufacturer:
In developing the next generation of process equipment, this company was having difficulty in meeting their reliability goals due to the addition of a significant amount of new software. To address this problem, I helped them understand risk assessment and worked with them to develop fault trees that represent the risk areas inherent in the new design. These risk areas were then reviewed in order to identify ways to mitigate risk.

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Software Verification and Validation for Practitioners and Managers