At the heart of proposals to use process-oriented techniques for creating organizations that are capable of creating high-quality software at low cost is a focus on software process maturity, organizational learning to foster continuous improvement, and contractual arrangements that support an exclusive focus on software construction activities, as opposed to a broader focus on end-to-end development of an entire product. We study an organization that was to provide fast, low cost, high quality software development services to product teams within Lucent Technologies. The vision called for an organization with a culture distinct and isolated from the rest of Lucent, characterized by a commitment to a well-defined software development process, use of state-of-the-art technology that fits into the process, and use of various forms of feedback to recognize and take advantage of opportunities for process improvement. The organization has operated for nearly a decade now, and has evolved over the years as the basic principles have been put to the test in actual product development work. We use a rich collection of data from interviews, questionnaires, software metrics, and software process assessments to advance our knowledge of how to create and sustain an effective, medium-size process-centered software development organization.
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