Software Process Assessment
Within a process improvement context, process assessment provides the means of characterizing the current practice within an organizational unit in terms of the capability of the selected processes. Analysis of the results in the light of the organization's business needs identifies strengths, weakness and risks inherent in the processes. This, in turn leads to the ability to determine whether the processes are effective in achieving their goals and to identify significant causes of poor quality or overruns in time or cost. These provide the drivers for prioritizing improvements to processes.
Process capability determination is concerned with analysing the proposed capability of selected processes against a target process capability profile in order to identify the risks involved in undertaking a project using the selected processes. The proposed capability may be based on the results of relevant previous process assessments or may be based on an assessment carried out for the purpose of establishing the proposed capability.
ISO/IEC 15504-2 defines a reference model of processes and process capability that forms the basis for any model to be used for the purposes of process assessment. The reference model comprises a two-dimensional approach to the evaluation of process capability - one dimension defines the processes to be assessed, the other describes the scale for measurement of capability. Any model(s) compatible with the reference model may be used for assessment, and the results of any conformant assessments will be able to be translated into a common base.
Each process in the reference model is described by a statement of the purpose of the process, which includes an outline of the intended outcomes of process implementation.