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Post-mortems-methodology and experiences

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1 Author(s)
Tiedeman, M.J. ; AT&T Bell Lab., Naperville, IL, USA

A methodology for preparing and conducting post-mortems for software development projects is presented. Based on the continuous process improvement concept, post-mortems are systematic reviews of a product's quality and the quality of the associated processes that produce it. The intent is to learn both what worked well and what could be improved. Three types of postmortem have evolved, each focusing on particular aspects of the software development process. The planning postmortem covers requirements specification and work program definition. The design verification postmortem includes design, unit test, system verification, and first office application activities. The field post-mortem focuses on actual field experience. The post-mortem methodology has been in use for several years and has been found to be a very effective organizational learning tool and source for many software quality improvement ideas. Specific examples of what has been and can be learned are included. The evolution of the post-mortem is discussed, along with possible metrics for evaluating the effectiveness of postmortems

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Selected Areas in Communications, IEEE Journal on  (Volume:8 ,  Issue: 2 )