Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Management Speak - Vocabulary

As an enginner I often hear lots of jargon which for an layman or a fresh college graduate may sound like Greek or Latin. So I decided to put in a small list of most commonly used words in the software Industry. (BTW I am still compiling a similar list for ASIC industry)

Acceptable Quality Level (AQL)
ANSI/ASQC Z1.4-1981 defines AQL as “the maximum percent nonconforming (or the maximum number of nonconformities per hundred units) that, for purposes of sampling inspection, can be considered satisfactory as a process average.”

Acceptance Testing
Testing to ensure that the system meets the needs of the organization and the end user or customer (i.e., validates that the right system was built).

Access Modeling
Used to verify that data requirements (represented in the form of an entity-relationship diagram) support the data demands of process requirements (represented in data flow diagrams and process specifications.)

Activity An identifiable work task that needs to be controlled.

Affinity Diagram
A group process that takes large amounts of language data, such as a list developed by brainstorming, and divides it into categories.

The American National Standards Institute that is the organization that helps set standards and also represents the United States in international standards bodies.

Audience Evaluation
The ability to evaluate audience needs and develop appropriate presentation materials.

An independent inspection or assessment activity that verifies compliance with plans, policies, and proce­dures, and ensures that resources are conserved. Audit is a staff function; it serves as the "eyes and ears" of management.

Work waiting to be done; for IT this in­cludes new systems to be developed and enhancements to be made to existing systems. To be included in the development backlog, the work must have been cost-justified and approved for development.

Baseline A quantitative measure of the current level of performance.

Benchmark An industry or best-of-class norm.

Searches for the best practices or competitive practices that will help define superior performance of a product, service, or support pro­cess.

Black-Box Testing
Data driven testing that focuses on evaluating the function of a program against its specifications.

Brainstorming A group process for generating creative and diverse ideas.

Cause-and-Effect or Fishbone Diagram
A tool used to identify possible causes of a problem by repre­senting the relationship between some effect and its possible causes.

A group activity in which a team's success is made known publicly and praised. This may include tangible rewards such as refreshments and award certificates.

Charter A document defining the formal organiza­tion of a corporate body: a constitution. Authoriza­tion from a central or parent organization to establish a new branch, chapter, etc.

Check Sheet A form used to record data as it is gathered.

Client The customer that pays for the product received, and receives the benefit from the use of the product.

Coaching Providing advice and encouragement to an individual or individu­als to promote a desired behavior.

Computer Society A constituent society (or technical component) of the IEEE.

Conflict Resolution The process of bringing a situation into focus and satisfactorily reducing or eliminating a disagreement or difference between parties.

Contributor Measure A unit of measure by which a result measure is controlled. Contributor measures do not impact the customer directly, but contribute to the success of the result.

Control Chart
A statistical method for distinguishing between common and special cause variation exhibited by processes.

Control Unit
A critical success factor that must be managed to achieve the success of a goal, policy, or strategy.

Cost of Quality (COQ)
Money spent above and beyond expected production costs (labor, materials, equipment) to ensure that the product the customer receives is defect free. This includes the cost of repairing a defective product that was shipped to a customer and the associated damage costs.

The individual or organization, internal or external to the producing organization, that procures the product.

Customer-Recorded Impacts
The positive and negative effects upon the customer resulting from IT actions.

An aggregation of measures, together with their standards, that provides a quantitative analysis of critical components of a process.

From the produc­er's viewpoint, a defect is a product requirement that has not been met, or a product attribute possessed by a product or a function performed by a product that is not in the statement of requirements that define the product. From the customer's viewpoint, a defect is anything that causes customer dissatisfaction, whether in the statement of requirements or not.

Defect Rate
Any relationship between identified measures that indicates, to the metric users, a level of quality.

Documentation Structuring
Designing documents that are clearly, logically, meaningfully, and comprehensively laid out.

Dynamic Testing Testing which involves executing the system’s code.

Effective Listening
Actively listening to what is said by asking for clarification when needed, and providing feedback statements on what was said to reinforce understanding and acknowledge that listening is occurring.

Effective Presentation
Providing or teaching information in a manner that transfers understanding and is appropriate to the audience. The proper use and value of videos, slides, overheads, flipcharts, handouts, brochures, and PC projections are examples of common tools and should be understood.

The Electronics Industry Association, which is an ANSI-accredited standards developer. The EIA is the national trade organization that represents United States electronics manufacturers.

Giving people the knowledge, skills, and authority to act within their area of expertise to do the work and also improve the process.

Exception Reporting The process of reporting only significant variances from what was expected.

The process of helping the progress of some event or activity. An understanding of formal facilitation includes well-defined roles, objectivity of the facilitator, a structured meeting, decision-making by consensus, and defined goals to be achieved.

First Party Audit
An internal audit conducted by auditors who are employed by the organization being audited, but who have no vested interest in the audit results.

A diagram that shows the sequential steps of a process or of a workflow around a product or ser­vice.

Force Field Analysis
A group tech­nique used to identify both driving and restraining forces that influence a current situation.

Functional Tests Tests of business requirements that address the overall behavior of the system.

Gainsharing Sharing in the savings from quality improvement efforts.

A graphical description of individual measured values in a data set that is organized according to the frequency or relative frequency of occurrence. A histogram illustrates the shape of the distribu­tion of individual values in the data set along with information regarding the average and variation.

IEC The International Electrotechnical Commission.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, which is the world’s largest technical professional society with members in almost 150 countries.

Influencing Skills
Capabilities and techniques developed to cause one person to have a certain planned effect on another.

Information Technology (IT)
Any activity (not limited to systems development) that uses information to fulfill its mission. Also called information services, management information services, and information systems.

Products, services, or information needed from suppliers to make a process work.

Integration Testing
Testing performed on groups of modules to ensure that data and control are passed properly between modules.

International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 146 countries, on the basis of one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system. ISO is a non-governmental organization: its members are not, as is the case in the United Nations system, delegations of national governments.

Interpersonal Effectiveness
The ability to work and negotiate effectively with personnel of different professions, skill levels, organizational levels and varying experience.

Developing and asking questions for the purpose of collecting oral data to be used in an analysis or evaluation.

Joint Application Development (JAD) Session
A meeting where the producer and customer come together to negotiate and agree upon requirements.

Just-in-Time (JIT)
The system known as “the Toyota production system” that has set the standard for world-class manufacturing. The ultimate goal of JIT production is to supply each process with exactly the required items, in exactly the required quantity, at exactly the required time.

Key Result Areas
Broad-based areas of perfor­mance that, when measured, give a unit an evaluation of its critical customer-driven processes.

The ability to guide or influence a group to move in some direction, including inspiring others in a shared vision of what can be, taking risks, serving as a role model, reinforcing and rewarding the accomplishments of others, and helping others to act.

Level of Service
The average performance received by the customer per criterion over a given period of time, which is normally 30 days.

Likert Scale
A way to collect measures, typically on a survey. A Likert Scale contains categories such as Very Satisfied, Slightly Satisfied, Satisfied, Slightly Dissatisfied, and Very Dissatisfied.

Maintenance The process of modifying errors found in a released software product.

A team or individual that manages resources at any level of the organization. Management obtains results through the efforts of other people. It is everyone in the organization except those in positions specifically designated as non-management.

Management by Fact
The process of using qualitative and quantitative data produced from and about work processes to make informed decisions regarding the operation of those work processes. The two components of this process are meeting desired results, and managing the processes to drive the results.

Management by Process The use of processes to achieve management’s desired results.

A number that represents a set of numbers in any of several ways determined by a rule involving all members of the set: AVERAGE.

Measure A single attribute of an entity; a standard unit.

Meeting Management
The process of organizing and conducting meetings to provide maximum productivity over the shortest time period.

Two or more measures combined in a relationship to each other to produce information about an entity.

Metric Name
A short name or expression that conveys the intent of the quality characteristic.

A customer-oriented statement of purpose for a unit or a team.

The process of working together with one or more parties to establish goals to be reached, create options that will satisfy all parties, and select an option that is best for all parties. May utilize skills such as compromising and consensus building.

Objective Performance Measurement
A quantifiable means of measuring the level of service received, such as the number of times reports were late during the month.

Outputs Products, services, or information that result from a process.

Perfective Maintenance The act of improving the product at the same time a fix is made. This is risky and not recommended.

Performance Criteria Major performance related categories, such as accuracy, quality, or timeliness.

Performance Standards
Defined, measurable levels of IT service applicable to an individual customer organization or a group of customer organizations.

The point of view from which assessments or customer satisfaction and quality can be made. Examples include the customer’s view and the provider’s view of quality.

Managerial desires and intents concerning either processes (intended objectives) or products (desired attributes).

Problem Any deviation from defined standards. Same as a defect.

Problem Reporting/Tracking
The process of reporting outstanding problems; having them assigned for resolution, and closing them out when the customer has been notified that the problems have been solved.

The step-by-step method followed to ensure that standards are met.

(1) The work effort that produces a product. This includes efforts of people and equipment guided by policies, standards, and procedures. (2) A statement of purpose and an essential set of practices (activities) that address that purpose. A process or set of processes is used by an organization or project to plan, manage, execute, monitor, control, and improve its software related activities.

Process Definition
A description of the organization's current best practice approaches so that the process is understood, consistently performed, and ready for improvement or redesign.

Process Improvement
The progression of steps taken to change a process to make it produce a given product faster, more economically, or of higher quality. Such changes may require the product to be changed. It involves improving process capability and reducing variation by analyzing the process and product results, identifying root-cause problems, and changing the process to eliminate root causes. The defect rate must be maintained or reduced.

Process Re-engineering The fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes.

Product (or Services)
The output of a process: the work product. There are three useful classes of products: Manufactured Products (standard and custom), Administrative or Information Products (invoices, letters, etc.), and Service Products (physical, intellectual, physiological, and psychologi­cal). Products are defined by a statement of requirements.

Product or Service
Something produced or provided to meet the customer’s requirement.

Product Improvement
Changing the statement of requirements that defines a product to make the product more satisfying and attractive to the customer (more competitive). Such changes may add to, or delete from, the list of attributes or the list of functions defining a product. Such changes frequently require the process to be changed. This process could result in a totally new product.

Production Costs
The cost of producing a product. Production costs, as currently reported, consist of (at least) two parts; actual production or right-the-first time costs (RFT) plus the Cost of Quality. RFT costs include labor, materials, and equipment needed to provide the product RFT.

The ratio of the output of a process to the input, usually measured in the same units. It is frequently useful to compare the value added to a product by a process, to the value of the input resourc­es required (using fair market values for both input and output).

Productivity Metric The ratio of work product (i.e., function points) divided by work effort (i.e., staff days).

Operationally, the word quality refers to products. A product is a quality product if it is defect free. To the producer, a product is a quality product if it meets or conforms to the statement of require­ments that defines the product. This statement is usually shortened to: quality means meets require­ments. To the customer, a product is a quality product if it meets the customer’s needs, regardless of whether the requirements were met. This is referred to as fit for use.

Quality Assurance (QA)
The set of support activi­ties (including facilitation, training, measurement, and analysis) needed to provide adequate confidence that processes are established and continuously improved to produce products that meet specifications and are fit for use.

Quality Control (QC)
The process by which product quality is compared with applicable standards, and the action taken when a nonconformance is detected. It focuses on defect detection and removal. This is a line function - performance of these tasks is the responsibility of the people work­ing within the process.

Quality Function Deployment
A systematic matrix method used to translate customer wants or needs into product or service characteristics that will have a significant positive impact on meeting customer demands.

Quality Improvement
The change to a production process so that the rate at which defective products (defects) are produced is reduced. Some process changes may require the product to be changed.

Quality Improvement Plans (Action Plans) Plans developed to correct identified problems.

Quality Management (QM)
(1) A philosophy consisting of continuous process improvement activities involving everyone in the organization in an integrated effort to improve performance at every level. It requires the commitment of executive management, and an empowerment of employees at all levels that enables them to participate in the improvement of the processes that create products and services. (2) Quality management integrates fundamental management techniques, existing improvement efforts, teamwork, and technical tools in a disciplined approach focused on continuous process improvement. It is also called total customer focus, total quality control, quality assurance, and a leadership program.

Quality Measure
A quantitative assessment of the extent that a product or service demonstrates successful performance, conforms to its requirements, or possesses a given attribute.

Quality Metric Any relationship between identified measures that indicates, to the metric users, a level of quality.

Quality Professional
The individual or group who assists IT management in improving quality, productivity, and customer satisfaction. Other names used for this, depending on specific assignments, include quality function, quality management coordinator, quality assurance, quality consultant, quality control, quality analyst, and QA analyst.

RAD Rapid Application Development.

Regression Testing Testing after changes have been made to ensure that no unwanted changes were introduced.

Reliable Measure
A reliable measure is one that: a) if the measure were to be taken again, the result would be the same; and b) if two or more different people developed the same measure, they would produce the same results.

Reporting Frequency How often a particular report is developed and distributed to its audience.

A formal statement of: 1) an attribute to be possessed by the product or a function to be performed by the product; 2) the performance standard for the attribute or function; or 3) the measuring process to be used in verifying that the standard has been met.

Result Measure A critical success factor or value that must be controlled through measurement. Result measures directly impact the customer.

Run Chart A graph of data points in chronological order used to illustrate trends or cycles of the charac­teristic being measured to suggest­ an assignable cause rather than random variation.

Sampling Looking at a small number of work products or a section of the work product rather than at each product.

Scatter Plot (Correlation Diagram) A graph de­signed to show whether there is a relationship between two changing factors.

Second Party Audit An external audit performed on a supplier, by a customer or a contracted (consulting) organization on behalf of the customer.

Service-Level Objectives A published level of service that information technology will provide customers by performance criterion.

Services See Product.

Stakeholders Individuals who have a vested interest in the success or failure of a quality initiative.

Standard A requirement of a product or process. For example: 100 percent of the functionality must be tested.

Standardize The implementation of procedures to ensure that the output of a process is maintained at a desired level.

Statement of Requirements The exhaustive list of requirements that define a product. The Statement of Requirements should document re­quirements proposed and rejected (including the reason for the rejection) during the requirement determination process.

Static Testing Testing performed without executing the system’s code; can be manual (e.g., reviews) or automated (e.g., code or writing analyzers).

Statistical Process Control The use of statistical techniques and tools to measure an ongoing pro­cess for change or stability.

Structural Tests Tests that require knowledge of the internal logic of a system.

Subjective Performance Measurement A person's perception of a product or activity, including personal attitudes, feelings, and opinions, such as how user-friendly the application is. Different people may measure different values for the same item because of their subjective judgment.

Supplier An individual or organization that provides the inputs needed to generate a product, service, or information to a customer.

System Testing
1) A generic term that differentiates various types of higher order testing from unit testing; 2) A predetermined combination of tests that, when executed successfully, satisfy IT management that the system meets requirements.

Taxonomy Categorization of items for understanding and use.

Team BuildingThe process of aiding a group to define a common goal and work together towards that goal.

Third Party Audit An external audit performed on a supplier by an external participant other than the customer.

Unit Testing Testing performed on a single, stand-alone module or unit of code.

User The customer that actually uses the product received.

Validation Any activity that helps assure that the end product (e.g., system) under defined operating conditions meets its currently approved requirements and expectations.

Verification All QC activities throughout the life cycle that assure that interim product deliverables process their inputs in accordance with specifications and standards.

Vision A statement that describes the desired future state of a unit.

White-Box Testing Testing based on knowledge of internal code structure and logic.

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