Department of Computing Science
Umeå University, Sweden
Department of Computer and Systems Sciences
Stockholm University/KTH, Sweden
The software engineering community seems today to commonly agree that the focus should be shifted from single methods, tools and languages to efforts towards improving the entire development process including project management. The process improvement models like CMM [PAU95] from USA, BOOTSTRAP [BOO97], SPICE [ROU95] at the European level, and standards, e.g ISO9000 [OSK95], they all are results from this awareness.
While the above models are intended to be used at an organisationwide level to improve software processes, there are also models focusing on individuals and teams, namely PSP (Personal Software Process) [HUM95], [HUM97], and TSP (Team Software Process) [to appear in 1998], and also a model for improving human resource management P-CMM, the People CMM [SEI]. PSP is a model for improving the work of the individual software engineers: the development, measurement, and estimation. TSP is the corresponding approach on the team level. P-CMM is a model for human resource departments in organisations developing software, although the generality would probably generate the benefits also for other type of organisations.
It is important that the individuals, teams, and management, all agree on an improvement to be undertaken, otherwise the improvement programme will face difficulties to survive.
A company starting with a couple of software developers may function very well: all the developers have oversight and natural communication. If the company is successfull, it will usually grow, with new employees hired. At some point in time, the oversight and natural communication will be lost. The company, especially if successful, will have increasing number of contracts, with the consequence of increasing profit, increasing staff, and also with the existing staff working over time to rescue projects that are late. Usually, it is well understood that something must be done in terms of people management and process improvement, but in a chaotic process, it is difficult to take the time to do the improvements, just to get the current job done.
Especially, for the small companies, the improvement efforts should become a way of life and organisation culture before the oversight is lost and there is a chaos. To this end, quality management support is needed for small companies, before they grow.
All the PIEs can be seen as related work to this project: they implement an improvement effort, including measurement and action. The lessons learnt by the PIEs can be utilized in this project. There are/have been several projects, so called ESSI dissemination actions, trying to collect the lessons learnt and to disseminate the experiences of the individual PIEs. One of those is EUREX (European Experience Exchange), where of the applicants (Terttu Orci) is participating. The idea of collecting and disseminating the experiences is a good one, in practice the work is, however, very hard, as it is based on second hand experience, on the final reports of the PIEs. The quality of the EUREX reports can never be better than the PIE report quality. Therefore, we doubt that individual small and medium size companies can directly make use of the PIE experiences, nor undirectly by looking at the dissemination actions. They give, at best, some useful hints, but more useful general guidelines and support are needed.
Milestone 990501 Document with the Level 2 features of the models, which are feasible for small companies from practical point of view.
Milestone 990901 Document with the Level 2 features of the models, which are feasible for small companies from theoretical and practical point of view. Demo version of the tool.
Milestone 000101 Quality management model with tool support.
|[EUR97]||EUREX - European Experience Exchange, Project No 24478, 1997.|
|[HUM95]||Humphrey Watts S: A Discipline for Software Engineering. Addison Wesley. 1995.|
|[HUM97]||Humphrey Watts S: Introduction to the Personal Software Process. Addison Wesley. 1997.|
|[OSK95]||Oskarsson Ö, Glass R: ISO 9000 i programutveckling. Studentlitteratur. 1995.|
|[PAU95]||Paulk Mark C et al: The Capability Maturity Model: Guidelines for Improving the Software Process. Carnegie Mellon University, Software Engineering Institute. Addison Wesley. 1995.|
|[SIS96]||ESPITIs enkätundersökning i Sverige. Svenska Institutet för Systemutveckling SISU, 1996.|