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A valuable reference source and the foundation for guidance material supporting the TickIT scheme for ISO 9000 certification in information technology.
For more information about STARTS or to order a copy please email Daniel Dresner or ring 0161 242 2352.


Launched in 1982, the STARTS Initiative was originally aimed at encouraging the adoption of software engineering methods and tools for the development and procurement of real time systems.

In 1987, the initiative was significantly extended to address the application of such methods and tools in the development of information systems in the commercial arena. Today the initiative includes mediation, the application of law, and building virtual teams across supply chains.

STARTS main objectives are to accelerate the uptake of best software engineering practice and methods. STARTS is delivered through four mechanisms:

Providing guidance on best practice to in-house developers and external suppliers, with information about, and assessments of, the best available software engineering activities
Promoting the use of best practice amongst purchasers and users when procuring and specifying systems
Promoting co-ordinated and constructive demand from purchasers for suppliers to use the best software engineering practice
Involving the user more productively in the development process and increasing awareness amongst senior management


The STARTS programme is building on its heritage to encompass the programme management across the supply chain needed for effective systems implementation. A key role to support the stakeholders in the development of contracts, and their execution is the mediator, synthesising conflicting viewpoints and building virtual teams between suppliers, buyers, and across departments. Fresh STARTS is developing training, checklists and guidance, and mediation.

The first Fresh STARTS event covers:

  • Using the law for leverage, not for restriction
  • Standardisation
  • Building virtual teams
  • Promoting efficiency in the value chain

Standards and Virtual Teams

Fresh STARTS builds on standardisation initiatives including:

Towards Software Excellence
ISO 9000/TickIT
ISO 12207 Software Lifecycles
ISO 15288 System Lifecycle Processes
ISO 15504 Process Assessment
ISO 14598 Product Evaluation
ISO 9126 Product Quality
STARTS recognises that customers and suppliers have roles throughout procurement and implementation that are key to the success of information and communication technologies (ICT):

Customer offers . . . Supplier offers . . .
Clear paths of communication to maintain visible involvement in the procurement, development and post sales environment
Realisation of commitments made
An authoritative identity who can sign-off requirements
Fair contract terms
A path through which the supplier can keep in/make contact with end users
Ability to respond to problems
An understanding of capacity problems: the scale the organisation and the number of technical staff
Bilateral change control, for example, a joint issues register
An understanding of new technology constraints
Clear specifications/managed expectations
The antithesis of 'absentee management'
Clear allocation of responsibilities and escalation paths when solutions are exhausted at the defined levels
Management and co-operation when timetables shift or better, avoid the shift
Regular meetings at appropriate levels
Sensitivity over changing requirements
E-commerce capability/dynamic web presence
Joint commitment with the supplier
Commitment to long term partnership
Input at the right level for technical development meetings
Support for independent user group development
Notification of the politics/change of personnel at customer organisation
Customer support service
Support for case study
Ability for the customer to contribute to a satisfaction survey




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