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Managing process diversity while improving your practices

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1 Author(s)

In recent years, the software industry has gradually moved toward implementing standard processes across large organizations. The benefits of doing so include simplified accounting, measuring, and managing. Implementing organization-wide processes also makes it easier to judge the capabilities of an organization as a whole, which is important in large scale software development where organizational structures can have a profound impact on success. The article describes a project in which localized software practice improvements led to process diversity. It describes certain problems that were encountered and resolved during the effort. It also presents some simple techniques that any project, small or large, can use for managing diversity. The techniques discusses in the article evolved in the course of one multiyear project. If you do not carefully plan and manage process diversity, it quickly becomes unmanageable. The author used to advocate process uniformity, warning against the management problems caused by diversity, but recent experiences have suggested more effective ways to address these problems. The article explores these alternative strategies, which include adopting a basic set of practices that are uniformly enforced across all development steps, using risk analysis as a technique for selecting targets for software process improvement, and planning for process diversity

Published in:

IEEE Software  (Volume:18 ,  Issue: 3 )