Motivators and de-motivators in software process improvement : an empirical study
Software quality problems are a concern for the software engineering community. Software Process Improvement (SPI) is the most recent and most popular approach adopted to address this problem. SPI focuses on the processes that develop software in order to deliver improvements to the product. Despite this popularity of SPI there is insufficient evidence of its successful impact on software quality. Quality problems in software continue. This has led to some concern in the industry about the effectiveness of SPI in tackling the problem of software quality. There is evidence to suggest that SPI does improve software quality. However, there is also evidence to suggest that SPI is not sufficiently supported by software practitioners. This lack of support may be one of the reasons why SPI appears to be failing at tackling the problem of software quality. In this research it is argued that this lack of support for SPI is caused by companies' inability to manage software practitioners' motivation for SPI properly. Companies may not be managing software practitioners' motivation for SPI properly because they may not understand them. There is therefore a need to better understand what software practitioners'motivations for supporting SPI are. A review of the literature suggests a set of guidelines that can improve software practitioners' support for SPI. The literature also suggests four themes that underpin software practitioners' motivation for SPI. The four themes are SPI managers' perception of the motivators and demotivators for SPI, software practitioners' motivators, software practitioners' de-motivators and the differences in software practitioners' motivators and de-motivators. The basis of this research is that exploring the four themes that underpin software practitioners' motivation for SPI improves understanding of the factors that influence support for SPI. This knowledge of the factors that influence support for SPI can then be used to validate and provide an empirical basis for the literature-suggested guidelines. Thereby improving confidence in the "-IL iidelines. The four themes underpinning software practitioners' motivation for SPI are examined through empirical studies. Findings from these studies suggest that SPI managers perceive senior managers as not supportive of SPI. They also perceive developers as not enthusiastic about SPI. The findings also suggest that the key motivators of software practitioners for SPI are visible support and commitment from senior management and empowerment of practitioners, whereas the key de-motivators are related to constraints on resources and a failure to secure practitioners' buy-in for SPI. There are also differences in what motivates and de-motivates different practitioner groups for SPI and these differences are related to the jobs that practitioners do. Finally, software practitioners have different perceptions of their role in SPI, which are related to their software development roles. This suggests that the objectives of SPI should be tailored to the software development objectives of practitioners in order to improve their support for SPI. Overall, findinas from these studies confirm most of the guidelines suggested by the t:, literature. The confirmed guidelines are offered as insight to improving support for SPI, which can in turn help to improve the impact of SPI on software quality.