Software Quality Journal

, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 229–260 | Cite as

Requirements and constructors for tailoring software processes: a systematic literature review

  • Tomás Martínez-RuizEmail author
  • Jürgen Münch
  • Félix García
  • Mario Piattini


Organizations developing software-based systems or services often need to tailor process reference models—including product-oriented and project-oriented processes—to meet both their own characteristics and those of their projects. Existing process reference models, however, are often defined in a generic manner. They typically offer only limited mechanisms for adapting processes to the needs of organizational units, project goals, and project environments. This article presents a systematic literature review of peer-reviewed conference and journal articles published between 1990 and 2009. Our aim was both to identify requirements for process-tailoring notation and to analyze those tailoring mechanisms that are currently in existence and that consistently support process tailoring. The results show that the software engineering community has demonstrated an ever-increasing interest in software process tailoring, ranging from the consideration of theoretical proposals regarding how to tailor processes to the scrutiny of practical experiences in organizations. Existing tailoring mechanisms principally permit the modeling of variations of activities, artifacts, or roles by insertion or deletion. Two types of variations have been proposed: the individual modification of process elements and the simultaneous variation of several process elements. Resolving tailoring primarily refers to selecting or deselecting optional elements or to choosing between alternatives. It is sometimes guided by explicitly defined processes and supported by tools or mechanisms from the field of knowledge engineering. The study results show that tailoring notations are not as mature as the industry requires if they are to provide the kind of support for process tailoring that fulfills the requirements identified, i.e., including security policies for the whole process, or carrying out one activity rather than another. A notation must therefore be built, which takes these requirements into consideration in order to permit variant-rich processes representation and use this variability to consistently support process tailoring.


Systematic review Software process Process tailoring Variability Process lines Variant-rich processes Project management 



This work is partially supported by the Program FPU of the Spanish Ministerio de Educación and by the PEGASO/MAGO (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación and Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional, TIN2009-13718-C02-01), MEDUSAS (Centro para el Desarrollo Tecnológico e Industrial (Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación), IDI-20090557), ALTAMIRA (Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-la Mancha, Fondo Social Europeo, PII2I09-0106-2463), and INGENIOSO (Junta de Comunidades de Castilla-la Mancha, PEII11-0025-9533) projects. We would also like to thank Sonnhild Namingha from Fraunhofer IESE for reviewing the first version of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tomás Martínez-Ruiz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jürgen Münch
    • 2
  • Félix García
    • 1
  • Mario Piattini
    • 1
  1. 1.Alarcos Research Group, Department of Information Technologies and Systems, Escuela Superior de InformáticaUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaCiudad RealSpain
  2. 2.University of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland

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