Game Development Reference
and continue through the remainder of the project. Backup and restoration audits
could start earlier, once development begins.
SQA reporting can be formal or informal. Some reports can be sent to the team via
email, while others may aggregate into quarterly results for presentation to company
management at a quarterly project quality review meeting.
Problem Reporting and Corrective Action
SQA is not simply done for the satisfaction of the QA engineers. The point of SQA is
to provide a feedback loop to the project team so that they are more conscientious
about the importance of doing things the right way. This includes keeping important
records and documents complete and up to date. It's up to QA to guide the team or
the game company in determining which procedures and work products benefit the most
from this compliance. Once an SQA activity finds something to be non-compliant, a
problem report is generated.
Problem reports can be very similar to the bug reports you write when testing finds a
defect in the software. They should identify which organization or individual will be
responsible and describe a timeframe for resolving the issue. The SQAP should define
what data and statistics on non-compliant issues should be reported, as well as how
and when they are to be reviewed with the project team.
History has shown, unfortunately, that some project members might be more reluc-
tant to spend time closing SQA problems because they have their “real job�? to do—
development, testing, artwork, and so on. As a consequence, it's a good idea to define
the criteria and process for escalating unresolved issues. Similarly, there should be a
defined way for resolving issues with products that can't be fixed within the game
team, such as software tools or user manuals.
In addition to addressing compliance issues one at a time, SQA should also look for
the causes of negative trends or patterns and suggest ways to reverse them. This
includes process issues such as schedule slippages and product issues such as game
asset memory requirements going over budget. The SQAP should document how the
QA team will detect and treat the causes of such problems.
Tools, Techniques, and Methods
Just like development and testing, the QA team can benefit from tools. Since QA pro-
ject planning and tracking needs to be coordinated with the rest of the project, it's best
if they use the same project management tools as the rest of the game team. Likewise,
tracking issues found in QA audits and reviews should be done under the same system
used for code and test defects. Different templates or schemas might be needed for QA