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Instituto Alberto Luiz Coimbra de Pós-Graduação e Pesquisa de Engenharia

Instituto de Matemática

 
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Evento: 'Myths and Strategies of Defect Causal Analysis'

Eventos PESC (Palestras, Seminários, etc.)
Palestras, Seminários, etc. do PESC/COPPE/UFRJ.
Data: Tuesday, June 12, 2007 At 10:30
Duração: 2 Horas

Myths and Strategies of Defect Causal Analysis

***
No dia 12 de junho, a linha de Engenharia de Software do PESC/COPPE/UFRJ estará recebendo a visita de David Card. Neste contexto, ele oferecerá uma palestra (conforme descrição abaixo) relacionada a Análise Causal. o evento ocorrerá as 10:30 hrs, na sala H-324B (Auditório do PESC), no dia 12/06/2007 (terça-feira).
***

The popular process improvement approaches (e.g., Six Sigma, CMMI, and Lean) all incorporate causal analysis activities. While the techniques used in causal analysis are well known, the concept of causality itself often is misunderstood and misapplied. The article explores the common misunderstandings and suggests some strategies for applying causal analysis more effectively. It does not provide a tutorial on any specific causal analysis techniques.

Many different processes, tools, and techniques (e.g., Failure Mode Effects Analysis, Ishikawa diagrams, Pareto charts) have been developed for defect causal analysis. All of them have proven to be successful in some situations. Organizations often invest large amounts in the software and training needed to deploy them. While mastery of these behaviors helps gain insight into the sources of problems, the behaviors alone are not sufficient to ensure accurate identification and effective resolution of “deep” problems.

One obstacle is the assumption that everyone knows what a cause-effect relationship is and how to recognize one, if the tools and techniques should suggest one. Consider that many, if not most, courses on causal analysis do not provide an explicit definition of causality. Three conditions must be satisfied in order to establish a causal relationship:

• An association between cause and effect must be demonstrated
• The cause must precede the effect in time
• The mechanism by which the cause influences the effect must be identified

As this article will show, some common misconceptions about how to manage processes have resulted from a failure to apply these three tests while exploring causal relationships.

Often, the causal analysis process and techniques are taught to staff, but little guidance in provided on when and where to apply them. Consequently the application of causal analysis becomes ad-hoc. A causal analysis strategy defines when and where causal analysis should be performed. It is based on an understanding of the organization’s process improvement objectives as well as its current performance levels. The causal analysis strategy helps to ensure that resources are applied systematically to important problems within the organization.

Gaining a true understanding of causality and developing a strategy for applying causal analysis help to maximize the benefit of an organization’s investment in the tools and techniques of causal analysis.


David N. Card is a fellow of Q-Labs, a subsidiary of Det Norske Veritas. Previous employers include the Software Productivity Consortium, Computer Sciences Corporation, Lockheed Martin, and Litton Bionetics. He spent one year as a Resident Affiliate at the Software Engineering Institute and seven years as a member of the NASA Software Engineering Laboratory research team. Mr. Card is an internationally recognized expert in software measurement and process improvement. He has worked extensively with high maturity organizations where quantitative and statistical methods are essential. Recent clients have included Siemens, Bosch, Lockheed Martin, Rockwell Collins, and BAE Systems. Mr. Card is the author of Measuring Software Design Quality (Prentice Hall, 1990), co-author of Practical Software Measurement (Addison Wesley, 2002), and co-editor ISO/IEC Standard 15939: Software Measurement Process (International Organization for Standardization, 2002). Mr. Card also serves as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Systems and Software. He is a Senior Member of the American Society for Quality.


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