Supporting Quality Assurance with Automated Process-Centric Quality Constraints Checking
Regulations, standards, and guidelines for safety-critical systems stipulate stringent traceability but do not prescribe the corresponding, detailed software engineering process. Given the industrial practice of using only semi-formal notations to describe engineering processes, processes are rarely ``executable'' and developers have to spend significant manual effort in ensuring that they follow the steps mandated by quality assurance. The size and complexity of systems and regulations makes manual, timely feedback from Quality Assurance (QA) engineers infeasible. In this paper we propose a novel framework for tracking processes in the background, automatically checking QA constraints depending on process progress, and informing the developer of unfulfilled QA constraints. We evaluate our approach by applying it to two different case studies; one open source community system and a safety-critical system in the air-traffic control domain. Results from the analysis show that trace links are often corrected or completed after the fact and thus timely and automated constraint checking support has significant potential on reducing rework.