Goal-Oriented Software Improvement - Theory & Practice

This article refers to the
PICO Training Courses
2nd Modul


Q-Labs GmbH
Sauerwiesen 2
67661 Kaiserslautern, GERMANY

"Software Process Improvement programs suffer from a lack of business orientation".
This statement is often being repeated at the last major international forums to explain the high percentage of programs (2/3) that failed. My definition of a successful program is that there is a quantifiable impact on the organizational performance. That is certainly a strong definition but finally, the ultimate goal is to improve business i.e. understand the impact of improvement actions, and not just perform an activity for the sake of filling in timesheets. Otherwise the investment is probably a waste of money. Well, programs either never last that long to show quantifiable results or are undertaken without investigating the link between improvement actions and their potential impacts (remember that the models like the Capability Maturity Model are only a framework not a cookbook).

This article is based on the author extensive experiences in coordinating and coaching software process improvement initiatives in the telecommunication area. A goal-oriented approach for software process improvement is being advised. First the principles for such approach are described followed by examples from industry. This goal-oriented approach is one of the subject of the PICO Workshops, namely "goal-oriented Software Improvement Planning" that has already been held at major European conferences (e.g. ESEPG98, ISCN97). Initial feedback on their performance is given.

Examples from industry
Feedback from PICO workshop