Publications / SAND Report

Incentivizing Adoption of Software Quality Practices

Raybourn, Elaine M.; Milewicz, Reed M.; Mundt, Miranda R.

Although many software teams across the laboratories comply with yearly software quality engineering (SQE) assessments, the practice of introducing quality into each phase of the software lifecycle, or the team processes, may vary substantially. Even with the support of a quality engineer, many teams struggle to adapt and right-size software engineering best practices in quality to fit their context, and these activities aren’t framed in a way that motivates teams to take action. In short, software quality is often a “check the box for compliance” activity instead of a cultural practice that both values software quality and knows how to achieve it. In this report, we present the results of our 6600 VISTA Innovation Tournament project, "Incentivizing and Motivating High Confidence and Research Software Teams to Adopt the Practice of Quality." We present our findings and roadmap for future work based on 1) a rapid review of relevant literature, 2) lessons learned from an internal design thinking workshop, and 3) an external Collegeville 2021 workshop. These activities provided an opportunity for team ideation and community engagement/feedback. Based on our findings, we believe a coordinated effort (e.g. strategic communication campaign) aimed at diffusing the innovation of the practice of quality across Sandia National Laboratories could over time effect meaningful organizational change. As such, our roadmap addresses strategies for motivating and incentivizing individuals ranging from early career to seasoned software developers/scientists.