Figure 5.1. Ishikawa's Seven Basic Tools for Quality Control
A check sheet is a paper form with printed items to be checked. Its main purposes are tofacilitate gathering data and to arrange data while collecting it so the data can be easily used later. Another type of check sheet is the check-up confirmation sheet. It is concerned mainly with the quality characteristics of a process or a product. To distinguish this confirmation check sheet from the ordinary data-gathering check sheet, we use the term checklist. In most software developmentenvironments, the data-gathering aspect is automated electronically and goes far beyond the data-gathering checksheet approach, which has been used in manufacturing production. Our discussion on this tool, therefore, is confined to checklists.
A Pareto diagram is a frequency chart of bars in descending order; the frequency bars are usually associated with types of problems. It is named after anineteenth-century Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto (1848–1923), who expounded his principle in terms of the distribution of wealth—that a large share of the wealth is owned by a small percentage of the population. In 1950 Juran applied the principle to the identification of quality problems—that most of the quality problems are due to a small percentage of the possible causes. In softwaredevelopment, the X-axis for a Pareto diagram is usually the defect cause and the Y-axis the defect count. By arranging the causes based on defect frequency, a Pareto diagram can identify the few causes that account for the majority of defects. It indicates which problems should be solved first in eliminating defects and improving the operation. Pareto analysis is commonly referred to as the 80–20principle (20% of the causes account for 80% of the defects), although the cause-defect relationship is not always in an 80–20 distribution.
The histogram is a graphic representation of frequency counts of a sample or a population. The X-axis lists the unit intervals of a parameter (e.g., severity level of software defects) ranked in ascending order from left to right, and the Y-axis contains thefrequency counts. In a histogram, the frequency bars are shown by the order of the X variable, whereas in a Pareto diagram the frequency bars are shown by order of the frequency counts. The purpose of the histogram is to show the distribution characteristics of a parameter such as overall shape, central tendency, dispersion, and skewness. It enhances understanding of the parameter of interest.
Ascatter diagram vividly portrays the relationship of two interval variables. In a cause-effect relationship, the X-axis is for the independent variable and the Y-axis for the dependent variable. Each point in a scatter diagram represents an observation of both the dependent and independent variables. Scatter diagrams aid data-based decision making (e.g., if action is planned on the X variable andsome effect is expected on the Y variable). One should always look for a scatter diagram when the correlation coefficient of two variables is presented. As discussed in Chapter 3, this is because the method for calculating the correlation coefficient is highly sensitive to outliers, and a scatter diagram can clearly expose any outliers in the relationship. Second, the most common correlationcoefficient is Pearson's product moment correlation coefficient, which assumes a linear relationship. If the relationship is nonlinear, the Pearson correlation coefficient may show no relationship; therefore, it may convey incorrect or false information.
A run chart tracks the performance of the parameter of interest over time. The X-axis is time and the Y-axis is the value of the parameter. A run...