International Software Process Association (ISPA)

SP'96 - Tutorials

Title: Software process improvement: the whole picture
Tutor: Annie Combelles (Objectif Technologie)

Who should attend

Senior management, middle management, practitioners. General knowledge of the SEI CMM (or an equivalent assessment method) is recommended.


This tutorial/seminar provides the background to combine the ami and CMM approaches, and to form a systematic method to ensure the success factors for process improvement. The entire programme is driven by business goals: a company decides where it wants to go, what process changes will help, and how to monitor progress. The CMM is the roadmap; the maturity profile to be achieved is based on business goals and time frame. If the programme is threatened by interruption for any reason, cost-benefit analysis may be undertaken to estimate the risks of interruption versus achieving business goals, before a decision is made. Collaborative work of all the participants is ensured by deriving pragmatic and quantitative goals for everyone.


Develop business goals for SPI: The goals for SPI must be linked to business goals. The fundamental business and production process must be made visible, and the links identified to business goals and CMM processes. The use of the ami method, to identify links and to quantify improvement targets, will be explained.

CMM training and assessment: Success factors for improvement how to use and interpret the CMM to judge the efficiency and adequacy of the practices in place, or to identify missing practices. Special emphasis will be put on the impact of maturity levels on the working environment, communication, technology and measurement.

Preparation of action plans: Action plans should be derived from assessment results and recommendations. Participants will learn how to break down improvement goals into specific action items for working groups, managers and projects, based on the weaknesses observed during the appraisal. The session will continue with metrics definition to track progress on specific improvement actions as well as on business goals.

Cost-benefit analysis: At any time the company, having started an improvement programme, should know where they are and why. Exploitation of the metrics defined to track progress will help in this analysis. The session addresses risk management, revision of action plans, and corrective actions: when and how to decide, based on measurement of progress and business goals.

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