This article explores the status of software quality standards development and application related to the maritime and offshore industry. This article summarizes the standards currently in use, as well as trends. Recent experience with high specification drilling vessels indicates that undependable software contributes significantly to operational down-time and loss of revenue for operators. This article introduces a framework for examination of software quality, including process product, operational, and customer perspectives. This article focuses on software process quality. Getting the software right the first time is much cheaper than testing and fixing it to acceptability. The cost of rework for a typical software development project ranges from 20% to 50% of total project costs. This article identifies some common software process reference models and explains how they help to achieve software quality. While, there is no specific national or international regulation addressing Software Quality Assurance (SQA) in the Maritime and Offshore industry, some recommendations and guidelines have emerged recently. Three classification societies (DNV GL, ABS, and LR) have published software process reference models (standards) as optional rules for offshore vessels. These standards are based on widely accepted ISO/IEC standards that have been endorsed by national standards bodies. Regulations and liability concerns will eventually force the maritime and offshore industry to accept greater requirements for software quality assurance, as has happened in other major industries. For now, if a customer wants quality, he/she must ask for it. These new optional standards make that easier.

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