Following is the full text of the speech delivered by the Director of Information Technology Services, Mr Lau Kam-hung, in the opening ceremony of a conference on software engineering process and development today (December 14):
Dr Ma, Professor Demokan, Dr Keung, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the Asia-Pacific Software Engineering Process Group and the International Software Development and Management Conference being held here in Hong Kong. The presence today of so many information technology (IT) professionals reflects the importance that we attach to the whole area and shows that we are striving for opportunities to stay in touch with the latest software development technology, especially in areas related to process-driven development and software process improvement.
As far as I have been able to determine, the first Software Engineering Process Group (SEPG) Conference was held in the United States in the late 1980s. For representatives from government, industry and academia, it provided a truly global perspective on software process improvement activities and results. Subsequently, the conference has been held every year in the U.S.A. and it has now become a truly international event with more than 2000 attendees from all over the world participating in this year's 12th annual conference held in Seattle.
Following the conference model successfully established in the U.S.A., the European Software Process Improvement Foundation organised a similar event in London and Amsterdam five years ago. This turned out to be very successful also and the conference has developed into one of the most important annual events of its kind in Europe. Closer to this part of the World, in Asia, India organised its first SEPG conference in 1999 followed by a second one earlier this year and they are planning for their third conference early in 2001.
Quality may mean different things to different people but in simple terms it means "meeting the requirement", "fitness for purpose" and "value for money". It is one of the most important criteria that we in the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region take into consideration in our system delivery.
In my own department, the quality of our software development process is under-pinned by a Quality Committee, which is chaired by me personally, and a Standards and Methods Steering Group, which is chaired by one of my Assistant Directors. We have adopted international standards and methodologies including FPA (Function Point Analysis), PRINCE (Projects in Controlled Environment), SSADM (Structured Systems Analysis and Design Methodology), Rapid Application Development, Object Oriented Development, and Quality Management. These are just some examples of the processes in place in the Engineering Process category and there are other processes that are defined for the Customer-Supplier, Support, Management and Organisation process categories.
To determine our capabilities, every two years we carry out a Quality System Audit on our Quality System, which makes reference to the ISO 9001, CMM (Capability Maturity Model) and SPICE (Software Process Improvement Capability dEetermination) models. The progressive improvement process is also supplemented by periodic critical reviews, which of necessity have to be taken after a system has been implemented for a certain period of time. In 1997, we performed a Business Process Re-engineering exercise to totally revamp our major processes. My staff have also gone overseas to obtain the Certified Provisional SPICE Assessor qualification.
To compete in the global arena, Hong Kong has to demonstrate its ability to be competent in the production of quality software, and IT process standards are always highly valued not only by the industry but also by the Government. It is important to know that no matter how fast and how innovatively we develop our high-tech businesses, we cannot afford to allow quality processes to be neglected if the quality of our deliverables is to remain high in order to sustain our competitive advantage in the international market.
In 1995, a local group of IT professionals in Hong Kong formed the Hong Kong Software Process Improvement Network, which assumed responsibilities similar to those of a SEPG. It focuses on the exchange and sharing of experiences on the software engineering process in the region. This year, with the support from the Software Engineering Institute in the U.S.A. and the European Software Process Improvement Foundation, the Hong Kong Software Process Improvement Network together with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Hong Kong Productivity Council have put together this three-day event, the first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific Rim. I hope that, through this conference, you will benefit and learn from the practitioners who have been successful in software process implementation and improvement. Do take this opportunity to share your experiences openly with each other, on what works and, just as importantly, what does not.
I have great pleasure in declaring this conference open and I wish you all every success. Thank you.
End/Thursday, December 14, 2000