Abstract Successful implementation of IT (information technology) projects is a critical strategic and competitive necessity for firms in all industrial sectors today. However, due to cost overruns, schedule delays, unfilled requirements and poor quality, it is reported that less than 30% of IT projects are perceived to be successful. Much has been written about causes of project failure and many have provided best practices and critical success factors for effective management projects, yet projects still continue to fail. As a first step to overcome systemic causes of project failure we propose a unified definition of software quality assurance (SQA). We use this definition to develop and present an approach to SQA that focuses on controlling risks and provide a framework for assuring the development and project management life cycles. INTRODUCTION Successful implementation of IT (information technology) projects is a critical strategic and competitive necessity for firms in all industrial sectors today. This is even more important in times of scarce resources needed for other competing strategic initiatives important to a firm. However, it is well established that a significant numbers of software and infrastructure projects still fail to deliver on time and within target costs and specifications (The Royal Academy of Engineering, 2004). Due to cost overruns, schedule delays, unfilled requirements and poor quality, less than 30% of IT projects are perceived to be successful (Glass, 2006). 246 Software Quality Assurance Companies spend billions of dollars on IT projects each year, with the average spending at 4 to 5 percent of annual revenue on IT (Charette, 2005). In 2005, organizations spent an estimated $1 trillion on IT hardware, software, and services worldwide (Charette, 2005). Project failures have cost the US economy at least $25 billion and maybe as much as $75 billion (Charette, 2005). Based on the current project failure statistics, companies are faced with billions of wasted dollars on IT projects alone. Many have written about the causes of project failure and have provided suggestions and critical success factors for effective management of projects. This chapter takes a different approach by examining how software quality assurance practices can impact project outcomes. It is the authorsâ€™ contention that software quality assurance (SQA) plays a critical role in the software development lifecycle (SDLC) and can impact a projectâ€™s overall success. Failure to pay attention to SQA can result in budget overruns, schedule delays, failure to meet project objectives and poor customer satisfaction (Chow, 1985). In fact, quality is considered a vital requirement of software products, a business essential, a competitive necessity, and even a survival issue for the software industry (Murugesan, 1994). Strong quality focus is emerging in all phases of the software development lifecycle with increasing emphasis on product quality, process maturity, and continual process improvements (Murugesan, 1994). No matter how advanced the tools and techniques â€“ all will come to nothing and the project will fail if the quality management system is not effective (Gill, 2005). The term SQA is often misunderstood, being viewed strictly in terms of software testing activities. However, in our view, SQA is a much broader concept. As we will present in this chapter, SQA is a set of assurance processes that are implemented across all phases of the project and software development lifecycles. Using this definition, we propose in this chapter a comprehensive SQA process. The SQA phases presented will provide IT professionals with a framework for software practitioners and managers to analyze their quality assurance practices and determine where to initiate changes that will reduce and/or prevent causes of project failure. The rest of the chapter is organized around four main objectives: (1) Discuss the reasons for project failure, (2) Define software quality assurance, (3) Propose a software quality assurance process and discuss how it can be used to assure quality, and (4) Discuss implications for research and practice.