A maturity model for the implementation of software process improvement: An empirical study

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Journal Article
Journal of Systems and Software, 2005, 74 (2 SPEC. ISS.), pp. 155 - 172
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Different 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 has resulted in limited success for many SPI efforts. The current problem with SPI is not a lack of standard or model, but rather a lack of an effective strategy to successfully implement these standards or models. The importance of SPI implementation demands that it be recognised as a complex process in its own right and that organizations should determine their SPI implementation maturity through an organized set of activities. In the literature, much attention has been paid to "what activities to implement" instead of "how to implement" these activities. We believe that identification of only "what" activities to implement is not sufficient and that knowledge of "how" to implement is also required for successful implementation of SPI programmes. We have adopted a CMMI approach and developed a maturity model for SPI implementation in order to guide organizations in assessing and improving their SPI implementation processes. The basis of this model is what we have studied in the SPI literature and an empirical study we have carried out. In the design of this maturity model we have extended the concept of critical success factors (CSFs). We have conducted CSF interviews with 23 Australian practitioners. We have also analysed CSFs and critical barriers using 50 research articles (published experience reports and case studies). This maturity model has three dimensions - maturity stage dimension, CSF dimension and assessment dimension. It provides a very practical structure with which to assess and improve SPI implementation processes. © 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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