ACM Technical Seminar Day
Friday, February 21, 1997
Track 4: Software Process Improvement

Stephen Cross and Cathy Beard were outstanding!

Ed Lehman
Moderator

Software Process Improvement is important for the Miami Valley, what we NEED TO DO--it's truly a wonderful thing--to reverse the the effects of defense draw-downs.


Stephen Cross
Director of the Software Engineering Institute

SEI assists organization in obtaining competitive advantage through their software development processes as they confront the challenges of compressed product cycles ("internet time").

SEI processes can not be a substitute for leadership. Example: Jack Welch's leadership credo (USA Today, Feb 21, 1997):

GE Leaders:

The leadership credo should be the first item of every briefing.

SEI is developing a distance learning curriculum for a software engineering certificate (five core courses from software engineering masters program).

SEI applies Deming's Quality Practices to Software Development (Statistical Process Control, 14 points--institute leadership, training, drive out fear, etc.). (Dr. Cross pulled his Deming 14-point card from his shirt pocket to demonstrate the priority SEI leadership places on proven quality management systems.)

Cross recommended Bill Creech's "The Five Pillars of TQM" as a very good, broad, introduction to quality concepts, including behavioral issues.

The chronic software crisis: 30% of projects are cancelled; 40% don't meet the user's needs; too much money spent on rework.

Software process improvement at Raytheon and Motorola has doubled productivity.


Cathy Beard
Senior Software Engineer
SAIC Aeronautical Systems Organization
An SEI Level 3 Organization

"SAI had a hard time in Dayton until we saw the light; now we are on the line or below in cost and schedule"

SAIC ASO (Aeronautical Systems Operation) moved from level 1 to level 2 in 18 months; from level 2 to level 3 in one year. (But, "It might take more training for people who come in with hammers and are used to politicing their way up the organization.")

SAIC is highly decentralized: "a farmer's market with central heat."

Software Process Improvement does not attempt to replace cognitive ability, e.g. do 1, 2, 3 (but invent 1.a, 2.c as appropriate).

Team building and teamwork required for everyone, starting with managers: Collaboration and participation key!

Need a one page Quality Policy that drives the process definitions.

Piloting was essential: Started with a new project; found out what did and didn't work; mapped out input and outputs and checked for disconnects.

Using Excel to trace requirements->code->test