Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

An analysis of software quality management at AWE plc.


A detailed question set is required to test and measure the true extent that a software quality management system is adopted and implemented across a large company like Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) plc. The analysis of the gathered data reveals specific topics of weakness that can also reflect the cultural acceptance or resistance that management groups have towards the adoption of quality systems. Having identified detailed problems and barriers, effective strategies and programmes can be deployed to improve the level of implementation and, therefore, the effectiveness of a software quality management system. This paper presents the question set used and the subsequent results obtained from the implementation assessment for 55 software systems at AWE plc. The data is collated into management groups and the associated cultures discussed. The topics of weakness are highlighted together with the very specific actions that are least undertaken. A range of improvement actions is also presented.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Carnegie Mellon University (2001). Capability maturity model integration. Pittsburgh, USA: Software Engineering Institute.

  2. Crosby, P. B. (1979). Quality is free. New York, USA: McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0-451625-85-4.

  3. Curtis, B. (1990). The human element in software quality, Proceedings of the monterey conference on software quality, Software productivity research. Massachusetts, USA.

  4. Elliott, M., Dawson, R., & Edwards, J. (2006). Towards a real process improvement from internal auditing - A case study. Software Quality Journal, 14(1), March 2006, 53–64, ISSN: 0963-9314.

  5. Galin, D. (2004). Software quality assurance, from theory to implementation. Essex, England: Pearson Education Limited, ISBN 0-201-70945-7.

  6. Horch, J. W. (1996). Practical guide to software quality management. Boston, USA: Artech House Publisher, ISBN 0-89006-865-8.

  7. Humphrey, W. S. (1989). Managing the software process. Massachusetts, USA: Addison-Wesley, ISBN 0-201180-95-2.

  8. ISO (2000a). ISO 9001: 2000 Quality management systems—Requirements. Geneva, Switzerland: International Standards Organisation.

  9. ISO (2000b). ISO 9001: 2000 Quality management system—Guidelines for performance improvements. Geneva, Switzerland: International Standards Organisation.

  10. Parzinger, M., Nath, R., & Lemmons, M. (2001). Examining the effect of the transformational leader on software quality. Software Quality Journal, 9(4), December 2001, 253–267, ISSN: 0963-9314

  11. Radice, R. A., Harding, J. T., Munnis, P. E., & Phillips, R. W. (1985). A programming process study. IBM Systems Journal, 24(2), 91–101.

  12. Siaksa, K. V., & Georgiadou, E. (2002). Empirical measurement of the effects of cultural diversity on software quality management. Software Quality Journal, 10(2), September 2002, 169–180, ISSN: 0963-9314

  13. Spencer, L. M., McClelland, D. C., & Spencer, S. M., (1992). Competency assessment methods, history and state of the art, Paper presented at the American Psychological Association, Annual Conference, Boston, USA.

  14. Standish Group International (1994), The Chaos Report, Standish Group web site,, (visited November 2005)

  15. Standish Group International (2001). Extreme Chaos, Standish Group web site,, (visited November 2005)

  16. Wagner H., (1999), The psychobiology of human motivation. Abingdon, Oxon., England: Routledge, Taylor & Francis (UK), ISBN 0-415192-95-7

  17. Weinberg, G. (1993). Quality software management, Volume 1—System thinking. New York, USA: Dorset House Publishing, ISBN: 0-932633-24-2.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Ray Dawson.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Elliott, M., Dawson, R. & Edwards, J. An analysis of software quality management at AWE plc.. Software Qual J 15, 347–363 (2007).

Download citation


  • ISO900:2001
  • Audit
  • Implementation
  • Culture