Evaluation of Problem Driven Software Process Improvement

Software development is constantly growing in complexity and several new tools have been created with the aim to manage this. However, even with this ever evolving range of tools and methodology, organizations often struggle with how to implement a new development-process, especially when implement ingagile methods.

The most common reason for this is because teams implement agile tools in an ad-hoc manner, without fully considering the effects this can cause. This leads to teams trying to correct their choice of methodology somewhere during the post-planning phase, which can be devastating for a project as it adds further complexity to the project by introducing new problems during the transition process. Moreover, with an existing range of tools aimed at managing this process transition, none of them have been thoroughly evaluated, which in turn forms the problem that this thesis is centred around.

This thesis explores a method transition scenario and evaluates a Software Process Improvement method oriented around the problems that the improvement process is aiming to solve. The goal with this is to establish if problem oriented Software Process Improvement is viable as well as to provide further data for the extensive research that is being done in this field. We wish to prove that the overall productivity of a software development team can be increased even during a project by carefully managing the transition to new methods using a problem driven approach.

The research method used is of qualitative and inductive character. Data is collected by performing a case study, via action research, and literature studies.The case study consists of iteratively managing a transition over to new methods, at an organization in the middle of a project, using a problem driven approach to Software Process Improvement. Three iterations of method improvement are applied on the project and each iteration acts as an evaluation on how well Problem Driven Software Process Improvement works.

By using the evaluation model created for this degree project, the researchers have found that problem driven Software Process Improvement is an effective tool for managing and improving the processes of a development team. Productivity has increased with focus on tasks with highest priority being finished first.

Transparency has increased with both development team and company having a clearer idea of work in progress and what is planned. Communication has grown with developers talking more freely about user stories and tasks during planning and stand-up meetings. The researchers acknowledge that the results of the study are of a limited scope and also recognize that further evaluation in form of more iterations are needed for a complete evaluation.
Source: KTH
Authors: Carleson, Hannes | Lyth, Marcus

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