Title: Assessing and improving the front end activities of software development

Authors: Lea Hannola, Petri Oinonen, Uolevi Nikula

Addresses: Faculty of Technology Management, Department of Industrial Management, Lappeenranta University of Technology, P.O. Box 20, FI-53851, Lappeenranta, Finland. ' Agricultural Data Processing Centre Ltd., Urheilutie 6, FI-01301 Vantaa, Finland. ' Faculty of Technology Management, Department of Information Technology, Lappeenranta University of Technology, P.O. Box 20, FI-53851, Lappeenranta, Finland

Abstract: The most significant benefits in software development can be achieved through improvements in the front end activities. By improving these processes, the likelihood of delivering high quality software and future business success increases. In this paper, a case study of initial state assessment of requirements engineering (RE) practices in a small software house is reported, along with an outline to improve them. The data was collected by interviewing all company employees with designer responsibilities and a meeting with unit managers was conducted to complement the designer viewpoints on company RE practices and development needs. The findings suggest a need to improve practices in all key RE areas, starting with training the practices and techniques considered suitable for the company. Collaboration and team spirit within the development units were also found to be an essential part of the improvement effort.

Keywords: requirements engineering; front end activities; process assessments; process improvements; software developments; initial state assessments; unit managers; designers; improvements; employee training; collaboration; team spirit; development units; Agricultural Data Processing Centre; Finland; business information systems.

DOI: 10.1504/IJBIS.2011.037296

International Journal of Business Information Systems, 2011 Vol.7 No.1, pp.41 - 59

Available online: 02 Dec 2010 *

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