Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development, IDA Singapore - Inauguration Address Software Engineering Process Group Conference, Marina Mandarin Singapore, 20 March 2002

Dr Kaizad Heerjee, Assistant Chief Executive, Online Development, IDA Singapore - Inauguration Address
Software Engineering Process Group Conference, Marina Mandarin
Singapore, 20 March 2002

Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I am honored to be delivering the inauguration address at the first Software Engineering Process Group Conference (SEPG) today. I would also like to extend a very warm welcome to the speakers and friends from overseas.

Let me first congratulate QAI India and the Software Engineering Institute, Carnegie Mellon University of the United States for taking this conference to Singapore. This is indeed a significant step in promoting the awareness of software quality standards in Singapore and the Asia Pacific region.

Importance Of Quality To Achieve Global Competitiveness

Singapore is a country that is committed to world-class business excellence. In today's highly competitive market, quality is a critical factor for business successes. Very often, the deciding factor of the customer is on the quality of a company's products or services. Time and again, it has been demonstrated in every industry that the reliable and economic way to produce quality products or render quality services is to incorporate quality considerations right at the beginning of production.

For Singapore to be globally competitive, we need to build up a stable of our own world-class companies with core competencies, which can compete effectively in the global economy. We cannot do without companies who are, quality conscious, quality-centric and quality contagious.

In the past decade, organizations in Singapore have been progressive by conforming to quality standards. Amongst these organizations are over 50 software units who are ISO 9000 certified. This was partly due to the Software Quality Improvement Programme (SQIP) that the former National Computer Board and the Productivity and Standards Board had put in place to promote quality practices throughout the software development process.

Introducing The State Of CMM - India Is The Leader

In addition to ISO, the Capability Maturity Model or CMM, as it is better known, is another best practice in the quality circle. CMM describes the principles and practices underlying software process maturity. It is intended to help software organizations improve the maturity of their software processes in terms of an evolutionary path from an often ad hoc and chaotic processes to a more matured and disciplined software processes.

Today CMM is a widely accepted quality standard for software development organization. The keenest users of this model are the United States and India and it is gaining momentum in China. Currently, of the 58 CMM Level 5 organisations in the world, India boasts the highest number - at 32 companies.

CMM Movement In Singapore

In Singapore there are no Level 5 organisations as yet. However, there are a handful of organizations that have embraced this process. It is indeed laudable that organizations such as Citibank, Xerox Software Centre and more recently, the Housing and Development Board's IS Centre, have successfully been assessed at Level 3 and above.

IDA has been evaluating the CMM over the past one year as part of our efforts to grow the Singapore Infocomm industry. We have invited world-class Indian software companies to share their experience in implementing CMM, with the local software development industry in Singapore.

Economic Benefits Of CMM

However, as all these players have discovered, quality does not come easy. It takes time to get assessed. If you are a Level 3 organisation, it could take you more than one year to achieve Level 4 and another 2 years to reach Level 5. The process of embarking on this assessment is not easy but the promises of return are great with many companies demonstrating substantial returns on investment and substantive improvements in productivity, efficiency and quality.

To quote the results of a study by SEI, companies experienced a 35% increase in productivity, 22% increase in early defect detection, 19% increase in time to market, 40% decrease in post-release defects and an overall impressive ROI of 5:1.

Initiatives to Catalyse the Adoption of CMM in Singapore

To encourage companies to embark on this quality process, IDA is piloting a scheme to assist local Infocomm enterprises in conducting a gap analysis. Some of the pilot companies include System Access, Crimson Logic and the National Computer Systems. Based on the outcome of this pilot, we will decide the relevance of the scheme and an appropriate time to rollout a structured programme for the industry.

On the training side, the ISS has over the past two decades been providing Infocomm professionals with software engineering courses to facilitate companies in moving up the ranks of the CMM levels. In our pursuit of software quality excellence, a pool of "trained quality assessors" is indispensable. The pace at which this quality standard pervades Singapore is also dependent on the availability of qualified assessors and we need to train more.

Companies who embrace CMM will have a gigantic advantage over their competitors and dramatically strengthen their competitive advantage! Companies that don't could often be ignoring it at their peril!


In closing, I would like to thank the ISS for co-hosting this event, in particular the tutorials. I understand that the response to the tutorials is overwhelming, with more than 200 participants! I am confident that you will learn something useful from the many thought leaders and CMM practitioners. On this note, I would like to wish you all a fruitful day. Thank you.

Last updated on: 13 Mar 2023