Improving by Involving: A Case Study in a Small Software Company

  • Nils Brede Moe
  • Tore Dybå
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4257)


One way of implementing Software Process Improvement (SPI) is to empower employees to carry out decisions made by management. An alternative way is to invite developers and project leaders to participate in all phases of planning and implementing SPI projects. Such participation has always been a central goal and one of the pillars of organization development and change, and has also been shown to be one of the factors with the strongest influence on SPI success. However, there are few studies reporting how participation can be done in practice in software companies doing SPI. In this paper, we describe how long-term participation can be realized in various SPI initiatives using several participation techniques like search conferences, survey feedback, autonomous work groups, quality circles, and learning meetings. The research has been carried out in a small Norwegian software company called Kongsberg Spacetec, over a period of eight years.


Project Leader Employee Participation Quality Circle Software Process Improvement Capability Maturity Model Integration 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Ahire, S.L., Golhar, D.Y.: Quality management in large vs small firms - An emperical investigation. Journal of Small Business Management 34(2), 1–13 (1996)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Avison, D., Lau, F., Myers, M., Nielsen, P.A.: Action research. Communications of the ACM 42(1), 94–97 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Basili, V.R.: Quantitative Evaluation of Software Engineering Methodology. The First Pan Pacific Computer Conference, Melbourne, Australia (1985) Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Baskerville, R.L., WoodHarper, A.T.: A critical perspective on action research as a method for information systems research. Journal of Information Technology 11(3), 235–246 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Baumgartel, H.: Using employee questionnaire results for improving organizations: The survey feedback experiment. Kansas Business Review 12, 2–6 (1959)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cotton, J.L., Vollrath, D.A., Froggatt, K.L., Lengnickhall, M.L., Jennings, K.R.: Employee Participation - Diverse Forms and Different Outcomes. Academy of Management Review 13(1), 8–22 (1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Deming, E.W.: Out of the Crisis. MIT Press, Cambridge (2000)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Dingsøyr, T.: Postmortem reviews: purpose and approaches in software engineering. Information and Software Technology 47(5), 293–303 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dingsøyr, T., Moe, N.B., Dybå, T., Conradi, R.: A workshop-oriented approach for defining electronic process guides - A case study. In: Acuña, S.T., Juristo, N. (eds.) Software Process Modelling. Kluwer International Series on Software Engieering, pp. 187–205. Kluwer, Boston (2004)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Dingsøyr, T., Moe, N.B., Nytrø, Ø.: Augmenting Experience Reports with Lightweight Postmortem reviews. In: Bomarius, F., Komi-Sirviö, S. (eds.) PROFES 2001. LNCS, vol. 2188, pp. 167–181. Springer, Heidelberg (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Dybå, T.: Factors of Software Process Improvement Success in Small and Large Organizations: An Empirical Study in the Scandinavian Context. In: Proceedings of (ESEC) and 11th SIGSOFT Symposium, Helsinki, Finland, pp. 148–157 (2003)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Dybå, T.: An empirical investigation of the key factors for success in software process improvement. IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering 31(5), 410–424 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Dybå, T., Dingsøyr, T., Moe, N.B.: Process Improvement in Practice - A Handbook for IT Companies. Kluwer, Boston (2004)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Dybå, T., Moe, N.B.: Rethinking the Concept of Software Process Assessment. In: Proceedings of the European Software Process Improvement Conference (EuroSPI), Pori, Finland (1999)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    ESA, ESA software engineering standard, European Space Agency (1991) Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Fenton-O’Creevy, M.: Employee involvement and the middle manager: evidence from a survey of organizations. Journal of Organizational Behavior 19(1), 67–84 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Greenwood, D., Levin, M.: Introduction to action research: social research for social change. Sage, Thousand Oaks (1998)Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Guzzo, R.A., Dickson, M.W.: Teams in organizations: Recent research on performance and effectiveness. Annual Review of Psychology 47, 307–338 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    ISO, ISO 9001:2000 Quality management systems – Requirements (2000)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Lawler, E.E., Mohrman, S.A.: Quality Circles - after the Honeymoon. Organizational Dynamics 15(4), 42–54 (1987)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    McGarry, F.: Process Improvement Is a Bottom-up Task. IEEE Software 11(4), 13 (1994)Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Moe, N.B., Dingsøyr, T.: The Impact of Process Workshop Involvement on the Use of an Electronic Process Guide: A Case Study. In: EuroMicro, Porto, Portugal, pp. 188–195. IEEE, Los Alamitos (2005)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Moe, N.B., Dingsøyr, T., Nilsen, K.R., Villmones, N.J.: Project Web and Electronic Process Guide as Software Process Improvement. In: Richardson, I., Abrahamsson, P., Messnarz, R. (eds.) EuroSPI 2005. LNCS, vol. 3792, pp. 175–186. Springer, Heidelberg (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Purser, R.E., Cabana, S.: Involve employees at every level of strategic planning. Quality Progress 30(5), 66–71 (1997)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Scott, L., Carvalho, L., Jeffery, R., D’Ambra, J., Becker-Kornstaedt, U.: Understanding the use of an electronic process guide. Information and Software Technology 44(10), 601–616 (2002)Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    SEI, Capability Maturity Model ® Integration (CMMI), Version 1.1 (2002)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Solingen, R.v., Berghout, E.: The Goal/Question/Metric Method - A practical Guide for Quality Improvement of Software Development. McGraw-Hill, London (1999)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Stålhane, T.: Root cause analysis and gap analysis - A tale of two methods. In: Dingsøyr, T. (ed.) EuroSPI 2004. LNCS, vol. 3281, pp. 150–160. Springer, Heidelberg (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Susman, G., Evered, R.: An assessment of the scientific merits of action research. Administrative Science Quarterly 23(4), 582–603 (1978)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Zajac, G., Bruhn, J.G.: The moral context of participation in planned organizational change and learning. Administration & Society 30(6), 706–733 (1999)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nils Brede Moe
    • 1
  • Tore Dybå
    • 1
  1. 1.SINTEF ICTTrondheimNorway

Personalised recommendations