Friday, May 03, 2002
I've been discussing process improvement and business value. I found a book that combines the two in a neat, coherent package: Software Process Improvement: Concepts and Practices. The value of this book is that it examines software process improvement from the perspective of business value instead of why it makes sense from a software engineering process point of view. I found this refreshing because too many books on this topic are focused on the technical advantages and give lip service to business benefits, if they are mentioned at all.
Another interesting aspect of this book is the chapter on using the Capability Maturity Model with small projects and/or in small organizations. The discussion shows how a heavy process improvement approach can be effectively used to good advantage in scaled-down environments. Considering how many large organizations are struggling with implementing the CMM this chapter alone makes buying this book worthwhile because it shows how to get a handle on the daunting task of implementing the CMM.
Parts of the book that I especially like are: Communicating Project Drift Through Cost/Benefit Scenarios and Linking Strategies To Organizational Goals. Another strong chapter is Technical Infrastructure for Process Support, which provides clear direction for implementing a process-based paradigm.
This book is not a primary text on the subject and is probably not the first that someone new to SPI should turn to (I recommend Successful Software Process Improvement by Robert B. Grady as an introductory text), but is full of practical ideas for someone who works with SPI.