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COBIT 5 tears down the wall between Dev and Ops and puts quality squarely in between


This week we turn to what COBIT 5 can tell us about quality. This process aims to define and communicate quality requirements for all processes, procedures, and the related to enterprise outcomes. This includes controls, ongoing monitoring, and the use of proven practices and standards in continuous improvement and efficiency efforts. This makes the wall between development and ops an artificial one. Quality clearly needs to not only be designed in, but measured throughout the application lifecycle. The purpose of this process is to ensure consistent delivery of solutions and services that meet quality of the enterprise and satisfy stakeholder needs. The key idea is that projects and programs deliver services (enterprise capabilities) and these capabilities need to be continuously improved and made more efficient during their lifetime.


Goals for quality

To improve the management of quality, COBIT 5 suggests IT organizations measure themselves against three process improvement goals. Let’s explore each along with their recommended metrics in order to get a better idea of what this process is about. 


1.                  Stakeholders are satisified with the quality of solutions and services. Notice the first process improvement goal is not about programs and projects. It is about solutions and services—the outputs of programs and projects. Three metrics are used to measure success of this goal: average stakeholder satisfaction with solutions and services, percent of stakeholders satisfied with IT quality, and number of services with a formal quality management plan. The metrics here start with a survey of customer satisfaction, but end asking whether there is a quality management plan. This makes services like a manufacturing line and asks IT leadership, over time, how are you improving them and what is your plan for doing so. How many IT organizations really think this way? My guess is the number is small.

2.                  Project and service delivery results are predictable. Predictable means the end-to-end quality processes occur as you expect them. Three metrics are recommended to measure this area: percent of projects reviewed that meet target quality goals and objectives, percent of solutions and services delivered with formal certification, and number of defects uncovered prior to production. Clearly, projects and programs need to have target quality goals as requirements. Meanwhile, quality certification is a formal acknowledgment that a company complies against standards. And lastly, the quality of process is about having defects discovered prior to production.

3.                  Quality requirements are implemented in all processes. This says that quality is not just designed in but managed over the service or process lifetime. Three metrics are recommended to manage this process goal: number of processes with a defined quality requirements, number of processes with a formal quality assessment report, and number of SLAS that include quality acceptance criteria. A quality requirement says to me that in service design a nonfunctional requirement needs to be specified for a quality of service level for service supported business processes. This is clever because most organizations define service levels post production. This is amplified in the notion of quality acceptance criteria in SLAs. Lastly, there is the notion here that there should be a formal quality assessment report on an ongoing basis. This means that we need to look back and look forward in the delivery of business processes and services.


So where should you start?

As always, my suggestion is that you start where the most immediate value can be driven. But if it were up to just me, I would start by showing acceptable quality and successfully testing. What do you think? I would love to hear back from you.


Related links:

Blog post: Making COBIT 5 part of your IT strategy COBIT 5

Solution page:  IT Performance Management

Twitter: @MylesSuer

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About the Author


Mr. Suer is a senior manager for IT Performance Management. Prior to this role, Mr. Suer headed IT Performance Management Analytics Product Management including IT Financial Management and Executive Scorecard.

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