Software Process Improvement: Where Is the Evidence? Initial Findings from a Systematic Mapping Study

Marco Kuhrmann, Claudia Konopka, Peter Nellemann, Philipp Diebold, Jürgen Münch

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Software process improvement (SPI) is around for decades: frameworks are proposed, success factors are studied, and experiences have been reported. However, the sheer mass of concepts, approaches, and standards published over the years overwhelms practitioners as well as researchers. What is out there? Are there new emerging approaches? What are open issues? Still, we struggle to answer the question for what is the current state of SPI and related research? In this paper, we present initial results from a systematic mapping study to shed light on the field of SPI and to draw conclusions for future research directions. An analysis of 635 publications draws a big picture of SPI-related research of the past 25 years. Our study shows a high number of solution proposals, experience reports, and secondary studies, but only few theories. In particular, standard SPI models like CMMI and ISO/IEC 15504 are analyzed, enhanced, and evaluated for applicability, whereas these standards are critically discussed from the perspective of SPI in small-to-medium-sized companies, which leads to new specialized frameworks. Furthermore, we find a growing interest in success factors to aid companies in conducting SPI.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 2015 International Conference on Software and System Process
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2015
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-3346-7
Publication statusPublished - 2015
EventInternational Conference on Software and Systems Process - Tallinn, Estonia
Duration: 24. Aug 201526. Aug 2015


ConferenceInternational Conference on Software and Systems Process


  • software process
  • software process improvement
  • systematic mapping study
  • Software process improvement
  • Systematic mapping study
  • Software process


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