Critical Barriers for Software Process Improvement Implementation: An Empirical Study

M. Niazi, D. Wilson, and D. Zowghi (Australia)


Software process improvement, Empiricalstudy, Software Engineering, Critical Barriers


In this paper we present findings from our recent empirical study of software process improvement (SPI) implementation critical barriers (CBs) in twenty-six Australian software companies. The objective of this study is to summarise the issues that play a negative role in the implementation of SPI programmes and to identify the key barriers. Through our empirical study we identified 5 barriers (organizational politics, lack of support, lack of formal methodology, lack of awareness and lack of resources) that are generally considered critical in undermining the SPI implementation process. We also report on a literature survey that identified 6 barriers (lack of resources, inexperienced staff/lack of knowledge, time pressure, organizational politics, SPI gets in the way of real work and staff turnover). We compared our empirical study results with the literature and confirmed the barriers identified by literature and also identified two new CBs lack of SPI awareness and lack of formal methodology which were not identified in the literature. Finally, we analysed CBs identified by different groups of practitioners and found the level of agreement across all practitioners about CBs that undermine SPI implementation. Our results also provide advice to SPI managers and practitioner on what critical barriers to address when developing SPI implementation strategies.

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