University of Twente Student Theses


How software process improvement standards and agile methods co-exist in software organisations?

Nguyen, Ngoc Tuan (2010) How software process improvement standards and agile methods co-exist in software organisations?

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Abstract:We are living in the world of extreme uncertainty. There is always an excess of changes, the unknown, and we often have to solve various life problems. In many cases, not only the solutions are unknown, but also the problems are unknown. In the software industry, the situation is the same. Software projects are inherently chaotic and unpredictable, and as a result, cannot be managed by processes that are best suited to well-defined problem domains. Those processes are defined by traditional waterfall methodologies which are commonly used to date. Agile Software Development methodologies evolved out of the need to address the serious problem facing the software industry, and promise to help “software” people comfortable with chaos, ambiguity and the unknown. Many software companies have successfully adopted agile methodologies. Moreover, the processes of adopting and adapting agile approaches take place concurrently with the process of getting more mature in those companies. There might have been two tracks of getting more mature: 1) get to higher level of agile maturity, in which agile practices and processes in a company become more disciplined and scalable; and 2) get to higher maturity by adapting or blending agile processes and practices with some standard maturity model such as CMM-SW or ISO 9001. This research project first looks at literature to see the relationships between high level of maturity to the value and quality of software, as well as the value created to customers. We expected that high maturity level has positive impact on software quality, user satisfaction and value creation. The results drawn from literature review consolidate that, and more interestingly, they show that high process maturity significantly reduces waste as well. As waste reduction, value creation and user satisfaction are believed to be the focus of agile methods, we next examine how agile practices and a maturity model can co-exist in an organisation and together bring more benefits to the organisation and its customers. The results show that the SPI standards really fit with agile methods, and that it is better if organisations can embrace both, since they benefit each other and bring more customer satisfaction as well as reducing waste and creating higher software quality and higher value creation. After the literature study, some interesting questions arise, and the author further investigates them by means of a case study in Topicus, a software company based in Deventer, the Netherlands. The company has always been agile, and also achieved a certification for high maturity (SAS 70 with ITIL). However, while the company has gotten to more agile maturity, as well as gain more customer satisfaction and reputation, there has not been much combination and benefits from the certification to the software development side.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:85 business administration, organizational science
Programme:Business Information Technology MSc (60025)
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