(From the Back Cover)
Elements of Software Process Assessment and Improvement reviews current assessment practices, experiences, and new research trends in software process improvement. Revised chapters expanded from articles in The Software Process Newsletter of the IEEE Computer Society Technical Council on Software Engineering, describe the improvement cycle in detail: from diagnosing an organization, establishing a business case, and changing elements within a process to final evaluation.
This book's thorough examination of contemporary models evaluates an organization's processes and capabilities, covers the business argument for assessment and improvement, and illustrates expected improvements and assessment reliability methods. Additional information includes application guidelines covering critical success factors including tools and techniques and important developments that enhance the reader's understanding of organizational processes in practice.
Review By: S. Liza Hockridge 08/25/2003This book is based mainly on articles from the IEEE TCSE Software Process Newsletter (SPN). It is separated into seventeen chapters and organized into four, logical portions. Part one introduces the reader to best practices, highlighting differences to earlier models. Part two explores the business case arguments that will assist the professional in obtaining buy-in for a process assessment and improvement strategy including obstacles as a result of lessons learned. Part three delves into implementing the model including critical success factors, and various tools and techniques for increasing the likelihood of success. Part four encompasses new developments in tools and techniques as well as providing insight into some practical organizational processes.
The diversity of authors ensures there are no biases while presenting a wide flavor of writing styles. Part one includes seven chapters: Software Capability Maturity Model, Risk Management in the Software Procurement Process, the SPICE project, BOOKSTRAP, ISO 9001, the People Capability Maturity Model, a bottom up approach and the Quality Improvement Paradigm (QIP). Part two encompasses three chapters: Economics of Software Process Improvements, Payoff for Software Process Improvements, and Empirical Studies of Software Process Assessment Methods. Part three contains five chapters: Essence and Accidents in SEI-style Assessments, Tailoring the CMM for Small Business, Small Organizations, and Small Projects, Starting the Climb towards CMM Level 2, the Role of Design Analysis in Process Improvement, and Action Planning. The final portion of the book, part four, provides two topics: Modeling Software Processes Quantitatively and Evaluating the Performance of Process Activities, and Metrics and Laws of Software Evolution–The Nineties View.
Provided are valuable empirical and case studies on time and costs involved and the rewards of successfully implementing a process assessment and improvement program. For those who are newly embarking on this career path, several chapters contribute as a learning aide in gaining a wide breadth into popular process improvement standards and their history. This book secures a broad audience with information for all sizes of organizations and projects from the fairly new to mature company.
Several prevailing factors are emphasized. Mainly, nearly 50 percent of companies that begin the assessment initiative have been unsuccessful/abandoned. Secondly, management buy-in, ongoing support, and participation must be present throughout all phases. And thirdly, this is a timely and somewhat costly initiative—not to be entered into lightly.
A few chapters could have employed sample material to clarify the content, and an index section for cross-reference purposes should have been included. My interest waned a few times due to a current lack of interest in the subject presented for a few chapters. The second portion of the book will undoubtedly be appreciated by all.
Organizations pursuing software process improvement within the framework of the models presented will find this book invaluable, along with software process improvement and software quality professionals wishing to expand their knowledge base.