Process Capability Assessments in Small Development Firms

A. Cater-Steel (Australia)


Software process evaluation, software process improvement, small development firms.


Assessment-based Software Process Improvement (SPI) programs such as the Capability Maturity Model (CMM), Bootstrap, and SPICE (ISO/IEC 15504) are based on formal frameworks and promote the use of systematic processes and management practices for software development. These approaches identify best practices for the management of software development and when applied, enable organizations to understand, control and improve development processes. The purpose of a SPI assessment is to compare the current processes used in an organization with a list of recommended or ‘best’ practices. This research investigates the adoption of SPI initiatives by four small software development firms. These four firms participated in a process improvement program which was sponsored by Software Engineering Australia (SEA) (Queensland). The assessment method was based on SPICE (ISO/IEC 15504) and included an initial assessment, recommendations, and a follow-up meeting. For each firm, before and after snapshots are provided of the capability as assessed on eight processes. The discussion which follows summarizes the improvements realized and considers the critical success factors relating to SPI adoption for small firms.

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