A quantitative and qualitative analysis of factors affecting software process improvement
Despite the growing body of research on software process improvement (SPI), there is still a great deal of variability in the success of SPI programmes. In this paper, we explore 26 factors that potentially affect SPI. We also consider the research strategies used to study these factors. We have used a multi-strategy approach for this study: first, by combining qualitative and quantitative analysis within case studies; second, by comparing our case study results with the results of a previously conducted survey study. Seven factors relevant to SPI (i.e. executive support, experienced staff, internal process ownership, metrics, procedures, reviews, and training) were identified by the case studies and the survey study. Two factors (reward schemes and estimating tools) were found, by both the case studies and the survey study, not to be relevant to SPI. Three additional factors (people, problems and change) were identified by the case studies. The frequency with which people, problems and change are discussed by practitioners suggests that these three factors may be pervasive in SPI, in a way that the other factors are not. These factors, however, require further investigation.