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Software Process Improvement Framework
KTH, School of Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Software and Computer systems, SCS.
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Many software development organizations today are keen on improving their software development processes in order to develop software products faster, cheaper or better. For that reason, Software Process Improvement (SPI) has received significant attention from the research community over the last few decades. Process maturity models have become widely known for benchmarking software processes against predefined practices and for identifying processes to be improved or implemented, whereas process improvement approaches were developed for guiding the actual process improvement process. However, despite a wide number of provided guidelines on how to standardize the processes and how to run process improvement efforts, only a few SPI initiatives have succeeded. About 70% of the SPI initiatives fail and a significant number do not even get started. Many studies argue that the success of the SPI initiatives is dependent on the organizational, social and managerial aspects of process improvement. Those aspects however are not sufficiently covered by the existing SPI approaches and models. The little knowledge on organizational, social and managerial aspects of SPI that is available is mostly scattered across the domain. Hence, there is lack of a holistic overview of the current SPI domain that provides sufficient coverage of organizational, social and managerial aspects of SPI.

This thesis has explored the organizational, social and managerial aspects of SPI and placed them into the context of the SPI domain. Its main research result is Software Process Improvement Framework (SPIF). The framework provides an overview of the SPI domain and positions theories representing organizational, social and managerial aspects of SPI in the context of existing SPI approaches, models, methods and practices. SPIF is based on the existing theoretical framework for SPI environment proposed by Sami Zahran. The SPIF framework has been additionally complimented with four additional outcomes of this study. Those are: 1) a list of organizational, social and managerial factors facilitating SPI effort, 2) a list of contextual factors impacting process change, 3) a process model for guiding software method adoption, and 4) a checklist representing the properties of successful and sustainable SPI projects.

The research was based on a strong industrial cooperation. As many as thirty software development organizations were involved in this research. Methodologically, the research was conducted in line with the inductive reasoning, which guided the research into building the knowledge from empirical studies. However, at some stages of this research, literature studies were incorporated. The main research methods of this study are action research and case studies, whereas data collection methods are primarily structured interviews, participatory observations and surveys.

The thesis concludes that implementing a recommended software development processes or practices using well defined SPI approaches is not enough. In order to implement successful and lasting process improvement, organizations also need to consider organizational, social and managerial aspects of SPI. The SPIF framework and other results of this thesis may significantly benefit software development organizations that plan to conduct software process change, or have already done it. These organizations may use SPIF for getting an overview of the process improvement process and the theories, methods and tools that should support it. The other results of this thesis can be used for: 1) incorporating organizational, social and managerial aspects in process changes, 2) for adapting process improvements in various organizational contexts, 3) for guiding adoptions of new software development methods, and finally 4) for evaluating and improving process improvement efforts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2014. , 129 p.
Keyword [en]
software process, process improvement, SPI, software method adoption, organizational change, change management, organizational aspects, social aspects, managerial aspects, SPI success factors, SPI checklist
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
Information and Communication Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-141272ISBN: 978-91-7595-002-0 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-141272DiVA: diva2:696087
Public defence
2014-03-11, Sal D, Forum 100, Isafjordsgatan 39, Kista, Stockholm, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20140213

Available from: 2014-02-13 Created: 2014-02-12 Last updated: 2014-02-13Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Impact of Growing Business on Software Processes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Impact of Growing Business on Software Processes
2010 (English)In: SYSTEMS, SOFTWARE AND SERVICES PROCESS IMPROVEMENT / [ed] Riel, A; OConnor, R; Tichkiewitch, S; Messnarz, R, SPRINGER-VERLAG BERLIN: BERLIN , 2010, Vol. 99, 189-200 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

When growing their businesses, software organizations should not only put effort into developing and executing their business strategies, but also into managing and improving their internal software development processes and aligning them with business growth strategies. It is only in this way they may confirm that their businesses grow in a healthy and sustainable way. In this paper, we map out one software company's business growth on the course of its historical events and identify its impact on the company's software production processes and capabilities. The impact concerns benefits, challenges, problems and lessons learned. The most important lesson learned is that although business growth has become a stimulus for starting thinking and improving software processes, the organization lacked guidelines aiding it in and aligning it to business growth. Finally, the paper generates research questions providing a platform for future research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SPRINGER-VERLAG BERLIN: BERLIN, 2010
Series
Communications in Computer and Information Science, ISSN 1865-0929 ; 99
Keyword
business growth, distributed teams, Scrum, process change
National Category
Computer and Information Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-39677 (URN)10.1007/978-3-642-15666-3_17 (DOI)000289177000017 ()2-s2.0-77957549865 (Scopus ID)978-3-642-15665-6 (ISBN)
Conference
17th European Conference on Systems, Software and Services Process Improvement. Grenoble, FRANCE. SEP 01-03, 2010
Available from: 2011-09-12 Created: 2011-09-12 Last updated: 2014-02-13Bibliographically approved
2. Impact of Corporate and Organic Growth on Software Development
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Impact of Corporate and Organic Growth on Software Development
2010 (English)In: PRODUCT-FOCUSED SOFTWARE PROCESS IMPROVEMENT, 2010, Vol. 6156, 161-175 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Many small software companies grow in an organic and corporate manner. When growing, they have to make many organizational changes, mature their processes and adapt them to the rapidly growing customer base and product demands. This may be a challenging task bearing in mind the fact that software organizations lack guidelines for how to grow and mature their software processes in the context of business growth. In this paper, we map out one software company's corporate and organic growth in the course of its historical events and identify its impact on the company's software production processes and capabilities. We also list benefits, challenges, problems and lessons learned as experienced by the company studied. The paper rounds up with the suggestion for incorporating business growth elements into software process improvement models.

Series
Lecture Notes in Computer Science, ISSN 0302-9743 ; 6156
Keyword
business growth, process change, process improvement
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-30263 (URN)10.1007/978-3-642-13792-1_14 (DOI)000286415300014 ()2-s2.0-77955459522 (Scopus ID)978-3-642-13791-4 (ISBN)
Conference
11th International Conference on Product-Focused Software Process Improvement Limerick, IRELAND, JUN 21-23, 2010
Note
QC 20110222Available from: 2011-02-22 Created: 2011-02-21 Last updated: 2014-02-13Bibliographically approved
3. Historical Perspective of Two Process Transitions
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Historical Perspective of Two Process Transitions
2009 (English)In: 2009 FOURTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE ON SOFTWARE ENGINEERING ADVANCES (ICSEA 2009), NEW YORK: IEEE , 2009, 289-298 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Process changes do not always lead to changes for the better. They may lead for the worse or they may not imply any improvements at all. In this paper, we report on the results of two process transitions in Mobile Navigation. By looking at the problems and benefits as encountered before and after each transition, we conclude that many of the problems are organization and people related. A method cannot help to improve the process if people and organizations do not follow it. Both organizations and people must mature with respect to management, self-organization, and discipline. It is only then the newly introduced method will improve the process for the better.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
NEW YORK: IEEE, 2009
Keyword
Scrum, process transition, process change, process improvements, daily meetings, informative workspaces
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-34250 (URN)10.1109/ICSEA.2009.49 (DOI)000290362700046 ()2-s2.0-70749137599 (Scopus ID)
Conference
4th International Conference on Software Engineering Advances
Note
QC 20110609Available from: 2011-06-09 Created: 2011-05-30 Last updated: 2014-02-13Bibliographically approved
4. Developer-Driven Big-Bang Process Transition from Scrum to Kanban
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Developer-Driven Big-Bang Process Transition from Scrum to Kanban
2011 (English)In: International Conference on Software Engineering, 2011, 159-168 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Even if most of the software process transitions have been madewith the goal of improving software processes, only fewexperience reports recognize process transition as an importantelement of software process improvement. This paper reports on adeveloper-driven Big-Bang process transition from Scrum to Kanban, and recognizes it as part of process improvement effort inone software development company. The paper reports on thetransition process, changes done to the process and resultsachieved. It rounds up with an initial model of a processtransition, lessons learned from the process transition effort andsuggestions for future work.

National Category
Engineering and Technology
Research subject
SRA - ICT
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-49532 (URN)2-s2.0-79960608853 (Scopus ID)
Conference
2011 International Conference on Software and Systems Process, ICSSP 2011, Co-located with ICSE 2011. Waikiki, Honolulu, HI. 21 May 2011 - 22 May 2011
Note
QC 20111201Available from: 2011-11-28 Created: 2011-11-28 Last updated: 2014-02-13Bibliographically approved
5. From scrum to scrumban: A case study of a process transition
Open this publication in new window or tab >>From scrum to scrumban: A case study of a process transition
2012 (English)In: 2012 International Conference on Software and System Process, ICSSP 2012 - Proceedings, IEEE , 2012, 140-149 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Transitioning from one development method to another has become a common routine for many companies. Despite this, very few reports describe how the process transition has been carried out, and provide suggestions for how to define a process transition model. This paper reports on a process transition from Scrum to Scrumban in one software development company. The paper gives an account on the process transition process, changes done to the development process undergoing the transition and the improvements achieved. It rounds up with lessons learned.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE, 2012
Keyword
Kanban, method adoption, Process improvement, process introduction, Development method, Development process, Transition model, Transition process, Industry
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-101539 (URN)10.1109/ICSSP.2012.6225959 (DOI)2-s2.0-84864344008 (Scopus ID)978-146732352-9 (ISBN)
Conference
2012 International Conference on Software and System Process, ICSSP 2012; Zurich; 2 June 2012 through 3 June 2012
Note

QC 20120904

Available from: 2012-09-04 Created: 2012-08-30 Last updated: 2014-02-13Bibliographically approved
6. Factors leading to the success and sustainability of software process improvement efforts
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Factors leading to the success and sustainability of software process improvement efforts
2012 (English)In: International Journal On Advances in Software, ISSN 1942-2628, E-ISSN 1942-2628, Vol. 5, no 3-4, -334 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Although software process improvement (SPI) may bring immediate positive results, this does not imply that the results will sustain in the long run. In order to succeed with continuous process improvement and sustain its results, organizations need to be aware of what makes their SPI efforts successful or unsuccessful. This paper presents thirty three factors that primarily contribute to the success and sustainability of SPI efforts. The factors are organized into three categories: (1) organizational factors related to the organizational structure, politics and culture, (2) implementation factors related to the planning, preparation, execution and management of the SPI projects and (3) socialfactors dealing with human behavior and reactions in the SPI context.

Keyword
SPI, success factors, sustainability factors, attributes, SPI status, lasting results
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-141268 (URN)
Note

QC 20140213

Available from: 2014-02-12 Created: 2014-02-12 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
7. Software process improvement health checklist
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Software process improvement health checklist
2012 (English)In: Systems, Software and Services Process Improvement, (EUROSPI 2012) / [ed] Winkler, D; OConnor, RV; Messnarz, R, Springer, 2012, Vol. 301 CCIS, 85-96 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Positive results achieved by software process improvement (SPI) efforts tend to degrade with time. To prevent degradation, companies need to regularly evaluate their SPI efforts and tackle potential SPI problems in a timely manner. This can be done by evaluating the conditions necessary for succeeding with the SPI implementations and sustaining their results. In this paper, we suggest an SPI Health Checklist to be used for diagnosing the health of the SPI efforts.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2012
Series
Communications in Computer and Information Science, ISSN 1865-0929 ; 301
Keyword
effort, evaluation, SPI, success, sustainability
National Category
Computer and Information Science Medical and Health Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-101564 (URN)10.1007/978-3-642-31199-4_8 (DOI)000310937900008 ()2-s2.0-84864215100 (Scopus ID)978-364231198-7 (ISBN)
Conference
19th European Conference on Systems, Software and Services Process Improvement, EuroSPI 2012; Vienna;25 June 2012 through 27 June 2012
Note

QC 20120904

Available from: 2012-09-04 Created: 2012-08-30 Last updated: 2014-02-13Bibliographically approved
8. Successful process improvement projects are no accidents
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Successful process improvement projects are no accidents
2015 (English)In: Journal of Software: Evolution and Process, ISSN 2047-7473, E-ISSN 2047-7481, Vol. 27, no 11Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Despite substantial amount of research in software process improvement (SPI) and a wide variety of SPI approaches and software process maturity models, many of the SPI initiatives still fail. This is mainly because the improvement projects are found to be far more complex than expected from the beginning. They embrace a myriad of various organizational, managerial, process, and social properties that need to be considered, such as clear directions, full commitment, continuous sponsorship, and dedicated resources. Some of those properties have been already widely known within SPI arena while others have not yet been recognized. This paper identifies the properties that need to be fulfilled for making SPI projects successful and puts them into an SPI Checklist to be used in the assessment of SPI projects. It then reports on its pilot evaluation within 10 SPI projects at Rolls Royce. The evaluation results show a strong relationship between the fulfillment of the checklist items by the projects studied and the success rates of those projects. Thereby, the results provide a strong proof of concept demonstrating that the success of SPI projects is no accident but a foreseeable outcome of clearly identified and assessable characteristics.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2015
National Category
Computer Science
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-141269 (URN)10.1002/smr.1738 (DOI)000364517100004 ()2-s2.0-84946214025 (Scopus ID)
Note

Updated from manuscript to article in journal.

QC 20160201

Available from: 2014-02-12 Created: 2014-02-12 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
9. Process model of software method transition
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Process model of software method transition
2012 (English)In: Software Engineering Conference (APSEC), 2012 19th Asia-Pacific, IEEE , 2012, 276-281 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Transitioning from one software development method to another has become a common routine for many companies. Despite this' very few reports give clear and detailed guidelines on how to conduct a process transition. This paper reports on two real-life process transitions and suggests a general process model of Software Method Transition (SoMeT). The SoMeT model aims to guide a transition from one software method to another.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
IEEE, 2012
Series
Proceedings - Asia-Pacific Software Engineering Conference, APSEC, ISSN 1530-1362 ; 1
Keyword
method adoption, process improvement, SPI
National Category
Communication Systems
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-119969 (URN)10.1109/APSEC.2012.87 (DOI)000332765100032 ()2-s2.0-84874594228 (Scopus ID)978-076954922-4 (ISBN)
Conference
19th Asia-Pacific Software Engineering Conference, APSEC 2012, 4 December 2012 through 7 December 2012, Hong Kong
Note

QC 20130327

Available from: 2013-03-27 Created: 2013-03-26 Last updated: 2014-10-08Bibliographically approved
10. Process Model for Software Method Adoption
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Process Model for Software Method Adoption
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-141324 (URN)
Note

QS 2014

Available from: 2014-02-13 Created: 2014-02-13 Last updated: 2014-02-13Bibliographically approved

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