Author: Yan, Ching-ying
Title: A workflow automation tool for ISO 9000 compliant quality management with applications in software development
Degree: M.Phil.
Year: 1999
Subject: Workflow
Management information systems
Total quality management
Quality assurance
ISO 9000 Series Standards
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Department of Computing
Pages: 128 leaves : ill. ; 30 cm
Language: English
Abstract: Quality management involves defining quality goals, establishing plans to achieve these goals, and monitoring activities according to the plans. To have an effective quality management system (QMS), recognized international standards, such as that of the popular ISO 9000 series, are often deployed both for business requirement and for product and process excellence. The essence of the ISO standard is to 'say what you do and do what you say'. For a QMS to achieve this, it is not only important to focus on the design of the right processes but also to ensure all tasks are carried out according to the design. In this thesis, we present a workflow automation tool called WAT that can be used to facilitate the construction of such a system. It is a client-server tool equipped with a number of unique features to allow ISO 9000 compliant procedures to be specified and enacted with minimal investment of time and effort. It has two major components : the workflow capturing (WC) component and the workflow enactment (WE) component. The WC component allows users 'say what they do' whereas the WE component makes sure that users 'do what they say'. The WC component provides users with a graphical user interface (GUI) to define workflow elements such as actors, tasks, forms, and the relationships between them. Users can define ISO 9000 compliant procedures by specifying the sequences of tasks and the actor(s) assigned to each task. Also, the role of each actor and the interactions within and between them can be made explicit. Unlike many workflow software which focus mainly on one particular model, WAT supports three different models : (i) an actor model which makes it easy for the responsibilities of individual members be defined according to the organizational structure; (ii) an information model which allows processes to be defined based on the forms that shared among tasks, and (iii) a process model which allows procedures be defined in terms of task sequence. Users can define processes by the actor or process model. The WC component allows these models to be transformed from one to the other to provide a rich conceptual framework for the capturing of ISO 9000 compliant processes. It allows users to view the details of the defined procedures from different perspectives so that they can understand better the flow of tasks and the interaction among actors. After the details of the procedures are captured, WAT can translate them into workflow specifications using a modified version of the WIDE language. Based on the specifications, the WE component, which is a groupware application implemented with Lotus Notes/Domino Release 4.65, ensures that all actors 'do what they say' by automating the flow of tasks according to the definition made in the WC component. The WE component, through its many features, brings responsible actors into and out of the process. Actors are informed and reminded of their responsibilities by their to-do list being updated and by receiving email reminders, etc. In addition, this component also provides a set of quality procedure templates and an efficient and reliable document manipulation environment to store information and facilitate automatic document routing. WAT has been completely implemented and has been put to test in different real scenarios in a number of different software development environments. It has been found to be a useful tool for quality management and in addition, it has also been found to be able to help improving and streamlining existing procedures by avoiding redundant data gathering and processing.
Rights: All rights reserved
Access: open access

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