The concept of Quality is one of the most controversial and most used in software development. When it is to define the software Quality, the meanings diverge, everyone having his/her own arguments in order to prove that the constructed programs meet high Quality standards:
- Use of methodologies (existing or own), with precise deliveries (for some people, the fact that the deliveries have been delivered is the meaning of Quality).
If each previous aspect is important in Quality approach, it is also true that they are not sufficient, nor taken isolately, nor by considering them all. In fact, Atlantis Technologies considers two types of undissociable software Quality:
Functional Quality refers to the functionalities of the software which have to respect the specifications, indipendently of performance, efficiency and others concepts.
As Atlantis Technologies is leader in a niche market which is Software Qualtiy and Complexity Assessment, Transformation and Re-documentation (Reverse Engineering) of existing systems (legacy systems), it is naturally that when developing new programs we integrate all the knowledge of our core business, in order to deliver programs of MESURABLE and VISIBLE Quality, whis is above our competitors promises. The final objective (Critical Success Factors) is to deliver new programs that are not yet legacy systems. This disciplined approach is those of MasterQual, which integrates also our unique documentation system RuleTracker (HTML format). All this is possible by the use of advanced Software Engineering techniques, existing or own technologies and by using our knowledge and experience acquired thanks to our core business (following our 3-pillars Quality approach: People-Process-Technology).
Atlantis Technologies has so set up a unique process, INDIPENDENTLY of any methodologies, development models and used technologies, in order to build a Quality in a stepwise refinement. Instead of controlling the Quality at the end of the process (tests), Atlantis Technologies has integrated in his analysis and development processes a serie of steps of Quality objectives, monitoring and continue Quality improvement in order to improve the functional and technical Quality, taking into account the two kinds of Qualities, in an undissociable way. The result is simply unequalled.
The programs built by adopting the MasterQual approach have the characteristic to be:
- Documented: the functional and technical documentations are constantly synchronized. Those documentations are built in parallel and each change in one is automatically impacted in the other.
Functional Quality refers to the fact that during execution, the program supports correctly the activities of the user. Concepts of performance and efficiency are a matter of the technical Quality.
This functional Quality steps in obviousely at the beginning of the development process, i.e. in the functional specification, where it is mandatory to provide complete, corrects and non-ambiguous specifications. But this Quality continues also in the design and construction phases, where those "functional" specifications are translated (transformed) in "technical" and then in "programs".
There is so a concept of "traceability" of the functional specifications along the whole development. This means that it should be possible to follow the implementation of a "Business Rule" from the moment where it is described at a high level of abstraction, until its physical implementation in terms of classes, methods, attributes and whatever programming detail. At each transformation step, new details - belonging to the level where the rule is described - are added to complete the previous level and are documented.
RuleTracker is the documentation system set up by Atlantis Technologies, that enables the "tracking" of a Business Rule along all the development cycle. This enables - when the programs are developped - to know exactly how a Business Rule has been implemented, and also what is the impact on other pieces of programs in the case a change occurs to the Business Rule. This results to a gain of time, money and Quality in the maintenance phase. This kind of traceability can only be reached if the functional specifications are synchronized with the technical specifications and the programs. Following paragraph shows which are the steps to reach such result.
Technical Quality refers to the fact that even the programs and the documentation meet Quality standards, some of them beeing measurable.
It is important to distinguish:
Atlantis Technologies integrates his own techniques used in the analysis of legacy systems through his services ValueIT and Revolve . Those services enable from one hand to evaluate the Quality degree of the applications and on the other hand to proceed to technical transformations of those applications in order to improve the Quality degree.
The proposed approach is based on a certain number of specific steps concerning the Quality that are integrated in the development process. This Quality is modelized and defined previous to the development (there is not a Quality in the absolute, but depends on the system to be developped), by determining a certain number of characteristics (a kind of measurable Key Performance Indicators) that the programs have to meet. After the development of one or many programs, those characteristics are controlled. If significant differences are noticed, then corrective decisions (transformation) are taken, through our services Recover. The system is then again controlled and those transformations are made until the system conforms to the required characteristics.
This Quality approach can't be improvisated. She is the result of an experience built in the core business of Atlantis Technologies, i.e. the legacy systems. Those systems share a certain number of common and known characteristics. It is then possible to act before putting those systems into production and to guarantee from one hand that the new systems don't contain already those characteristics, and on the other hand that those systems are built in such a way that the appearance of such characteristics is delayed the later possible. This is only possible if the origin of such characteristics are known and thus how to prevent the appearance of such characteristics. The way to build wealthy programs, which meet the previous Critical Success Factors is the MasterQual approach and the objective of Atlantis Technologies.
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