Software Process Improvement Implementation and Management Model (SPIIMM) for Global Software Development


Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

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Award date13 Sept 2017


Global Software Development (GSD) has gained great attention during the past decade or so; and it is also being implemented by most of the software development organizations. Due to the economic and strategic effects of GSD, it is treated as a substitute to a collocated development. The geographically dispersed environment makes software development a complicated task and brings several challenges especially that related to Software Process Improvement (SPI) although SPI can play a significant role to successfully execute GSD projects.

Various process improvement standards and models have been developed in order to help software organizations to achieve effective management of software development processes. In particular, Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) is one of the process improvement models that consist of structured and methodical practices for process assessment and improvement. The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) also developed standards and recommendations for SPI: for example, ISO 9000 is used to evaluate the quality of the established software systems in an organization, whereas ISO/IEC 15504 is targeted as the process improvement standard under the Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination (SPICE). ISO/IEC 15504 standard is evolved to the more advance process assessment and improvement family i.e. ISO/IEC 330XX. The ISO/IEC 330XX family covers the assessment of the deployed process in an organization, maintenance, change management, delivery and improvement of processes.

However, the deployment of SPI in the domain of GSD needs a long-term approach and require adequate resources and time. Despite the significance of SPI in GSD, little attention has been given to the following core question: “how to efficiently execute process improvement programs in the context of GSD?” Especially, development teams working in GSD operate beyond the geographical boundaries, which makes communication and collaboration more difficult and the need for the deployment of process improvement program much pronounced. SPI teams working in GSD environment face different challenges when it comes to developing process improvement practices, establishing the relationship among the dispersed team members, mitigating the time differences and managing the cultural issues.

The core objective of this thesis is to develop a software process improvement implementation and management model (SPIIMM) to help GSD organizations to effectively assess and implement the SPI activities. The model is based on the results drawn from the systematic literature review (SLR) and empirical study conducted in GSD organizations. To structure SPIIMM, I have adopted the concepts of critical success factors (CSFs), critical barriers (CBs) and different other available models, i.e. CMMI, implementation maturity model (IMM) and software outsourcing vendors' readiness model (SOVRM). I have extracted the data from 91 primary studies in order to identify the CSFs, CBs and their practices. I have classified the identified CSFs and CBs into five maturity levels based on CMMI, IMM and SOVRM. I have also conducted an empirical study with 111 SPI experts to validate the findings of the SLR study and extract additional new CSFs, CBs and practices.

In order to assess the effectiveness of SPIIMM for GSD industry, three case studies were conducted in three different GSD organizations. The findings of the case studies revealed that SPIIMM is significant in both theoretical and practical perspectives. The successful implementation of SPIIMM during the case studies demonstrated the use of SPIIMM in the GSD industry. The case study participants were satisfied with the use and overall performance of SPIIMM.

The main contribution of this research project is the development of SPIIMM, which is a significant model for GSD organizations to assess and improve the SPI related activities. The SPIIMM will also provide help to other researchers working in the domain of SPI and GSD in order to further improve and develop new SPI processes.