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Process certification: a double-edged sword

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1 Author(s)
Matsubara, T. ; IEEE Software, USA

On 27 June 2000, health authorities in Osaka city received a call from the hospital. They learned that people were suffering from diarrhoea, stomach pains, and vomiting after drinking low-fat milk products produced by Snow Brand Milk Product, one of Japan's largest dairy companies. On 1 July, officials at a medical laboratory in Wakayama prefecture announced that, when they tested the milk the victims had drunk, they detected a gene linked to the toxin present in yellow staphylococcus, an exit toxin found in leftover milk. Milk is far easier to test than software, because we can physically and chemically measure it. However, processing milk is similar to the software development process in terms of tangibility. Consequently, process is an essential part of both food production and software development, which is why both industries require process standards. Thus, the software community can learn from the fiasco at Snow Brand. In particular, there are four areas on which we should focus: process logs are easily faked; process is not a final objective; safety is the highest priority; and formal certification and authorization are a double-edged sword

Published in:

Software, IEEE  (Volume:17 ,  Issue: 6 )