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Control of change in Software Quality Assurance

During the development of software product, changes are difficult to avoid. There is always a need for some change in the software product. Though these changes must be incorporated into software product, but there should be a specific procedure that must be followed for putting the changes in the product. Before a change is implemented, the required change should be thoroughly analyzed, recorded and reported to people who are responsible for controlling them for quality and errors.

For all these activities there is software configuration management(SCM). It is applied throughout the software engineering process as changes can occur at any stage of software development. SCM activities identifies and control changes and ensures that these changes are properly implemented. A typical change control process that is followed in many software development process is illustrated in fig 9.10.

First thing is need for change is recognized and request of change is submitted. Developers analyze the request and makes a change report and it is submitted to change control authority. It is up to the authority to grant permission or deny request. In case change request is denied, the user is informed about it.

If permission is granted then an Engineer Change Order (ECO) is generated which contains details of the changes to be made. The individual software engineer is assigned the configuration object that requires change. These objects are taken out of system, changes are made upon them and finally changes are reviewed and again they are put into system.

Testing strategy is finalized. Quality assurance and testing activities are performed. Changes done to the system are promoted. New version of software is built. Changes made to the software product are again reviewed and finally the new version with the required changes is distributed.

There are two more activities in SCM. These are ‘check in’ and ‘check out’ processes for access control and synchronization control.

Access control determines which software engineer has the authority to change and modify a configuration object. More than one software engineer can have the authority over a particular object. Access control is very important it is not advisable to grant access to objects to everyone. Then everybody can make changes to the object Synchronization controls the parallel changes, done by two or more developers. It ensures one developer is not writing over the work of the other developer.

Change Control Process
Fig. 9.10 Change Control Process

Access and synchronization control
Fig. 9.11 Access and synchronization control

Once it is assigned to a software engineer for change then it is locked for other software engineers who might also have access for it. This process is check-out for that object. The software engineer modifies the object and it is reviewed. It is then check in. That lock that has been put on the object is unlocked and can be given to other software engineers if required. In this way there is no chance of one developer writing over the work of other developer.


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