A framework for assisting the design of effective software process improvement implementation strategies

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Journal Article
Journal of Systems and Software, 2005, 78 (2), pp. 204 - 222
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A number of advances have been made in the development of software process improvement (SPI) standards and models, e.g. Capability Maturity Model (CMM), more recently CMMI, and ISO's SPICE. However, these advances have not been matched by equal advances in the adoption of these standards and models in software development which hasresulted in limited success for many SPI efforts. The current problem with SPI is not a lack of standards or models, but rather a lack of an effective strategy to successfully implement these standards or models. In this paper we have focused on SPI implementation issues and designed three individual components in order to assist SPI practitioners in the design of effective SPI implementation initiatives. We have pulled together individual components under one SPI implementation framework (SPI-IF) using a bottom-up approach already familiar to many practitioners and researchers. The framework is based on the results drawn from SPI literature and an empirical study we have carried out. In the design of SPI-IF, the concept of critical success factors (CSFs) was used and extended. Thirty-four CSF interviews were conducted with Australian practitioners. In addition, 50 research articles (published experience reports and case studies) were also selected and analysed in order to identify factors that play positive or negative roles in SPI implementation. The SPI-IF provides a very practical structure with which to assess and implement SPI implementation initiatives. In order to evaluate SPI-IF, a practical evaluation scheme was undertaken. The evaluation results show that SPI-IF has potential to assist SPI practitioners in the design of effective SPI implementation initiatives. Thus, we recommend organizations to use SPI-IF in order to effectively design SPI implementation initiatives. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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