Recommended Course Of Action

If an organization is committed to software development process improvement, its first step is to assess the current state of software engineering practice. The IS manager is advised to:

■ Set the stage for process improvement by providing preliminary training in software engineering for managers, technical staff, and users. Training should introduce process and technology options, emphasize the benefits of improved software quality, and explain the technology transition cycle.

■ Select a local champion to manage the assessment approach from the inside. The local champion should drive the assessment process as well as facilitate those who are conducting the assessment and those who are taking part.

■ Select an assessment approach that is appropriate for the organization, its budgets, and its management philosophy. If budgets are limited or outside consultants cannot be used, consider the use of a self-directed assessment model. If consulting budgets are available, hire a competent consulting firm to conduct the assessment. If customer requirements dictate a specific assessment approach (e.g., many government contractors are encouraged to use the Software Engineering Institute assessment),develop a plan that enables that approach to be used.

■ Determine the software development process maturity level for the organization. The process maturity level makes it possible to compare the organization with common and best practice in the industry. However, it should not be used to compare internal groups or to force technology transition.

■ Examine findings and recommendations derived as a consequence of assessment results to be certain that they accurately reflect the organization. Recommendations must be realistic.

■ Begin the development of a transition plan that will lead to software process improvement. The transition plan describes the education strategy, the approach to be taken for selecting process changes and technology upgrades, and the tasks, milestones, and deliverables associated with process and technology installation.

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Project Management Made Easy

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