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Monday, February 25, 2013

What is meant by Software Process Improvement?

About Software Process Improvement

- SPI or Software Process Improvement is a program that has been developed to provide guidance for the integrated long – range plan for the initiation and management of the SPI program. 
- SPI is based up on a model called the IDEAL model which has the following 5 major stages:
  1. Initiating
  2. Diagnosing
  3. Establishing
  4. Acting
  5. Leveraging
- These 5 major steps form a continuous loop. 
- However, the time taken for the completion of one cycle varies from one organization to other. 
- Depending on the available resources an organization must be able to decide whether or not it would be able to commit to software process improvement. 
SPI requires many activities to be carried out in parallel to each other. 
- Some part of the organization may take care of the activities in one phase while others take care of the other phase activities.
- Practically, the boundaries of the various stages in a software process improvement are not clearly defined. 
- The infrastructure also plays a great role in the success of the SPI. 
- The value added to SPI by infrastructure just cannot be underestimated. 
- It provides a great help in understanding its roles.

About Initiating Phase

- As the name indicates this is the starting point of the process. 
- This stage involves setting up of the improvement infrastructure. 
- Then the infrastructure’s roles and responsibilities are defined. 
- The resources are checked for availability and assigned.
- Finally, an SPI plan that will guide this initiating phase as well as the other higher stages. 
- It is during this stage that the goals of the software process improvement are defined and established based up on the organization’s business needs. 
- During the establishing phase these goals are further refined and specified.
Two components are typically established namely:
Ø  A software engineering process group or SEPG
Ø  A management steering group or MSG 

About Diagnosing Phase

- In this stage, the organization as per the SPI plan starts. 
- This stage serves as foundation for the stages that will follow. 
- The plan is initiated keeping in view the vision of the organization along with its business strategy, past lessons, current business issues and long term goals. 
- Appraisal activities are carried out so that a baseline of the current state of the organization. 
- The results of these activities are reconciled with the existing efforts so as to be included in the main plan.

About Establishing Phase

- In this stage the issues to be addressed by the improvement activities are assigned priorities.
- Also, the strategies for obtaining a solution are also pursued. 
- The draft of the plan is completed as per the organization’s vision, plan, goals and issues. 
- From general goals, measurable goals are developed and put in to the final SPI plan. 
- Metrics essential to the process are also defined.

About Acting Phase

- Solutions addressing the improvement issues discovered in the previous stages are created and deployed in and out of the organization. 
- Other plans are developed for the evaluation of the improved processes.

About Leveraging Phase

- This stage is led by the objective of making the next pass through the process more effective. 
- By this time the organization has developed solutions and metrics concerning performance and achievement of the goals. 
- All this data obtained is stored in a process database that will later serve as source information for the next pass. 
- Also, this information would be used for the revaluation of the strategies and methods involved in the SPI program.
- Software process improvement activities work with two components namely, the tactical component and the strategic component. 
- The former is driven by the latter that is based up on the needs of the organization. 

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