Software process improvement can be disruptive, but it does not have to be. Through our practice-based approach, we give your software organization the ability to focus on and change only what’s needed—retaining those parts of your existing software process or approach that are serving you well. Practices provide packaged solutions to specific software-development problems. Use them one by one or in any combination required to suit the needs of your organization or project.
Treating processes as collections of practices is fundamentally different: instead of learning or adopting an entire process, practitioners learn about individual practices and adopt them incrementally to rapidly improve their ways of working. First, they select the most appropriate practices to address their needs and cope with the challenges they face. Then, they implement the necessary practices in whatever combination and at whatever speed suits them. Importantly, they can add new practices to their existing way of working without changing everything or throwing away the practices they already know and depend on.
Many organisations struggle with the need for a standardised way of working, whilst at the same time dealing with many different types of project that all pose different challenges and demand different approaches. A practice-based approach enables the composition of processes from a library of practices. This means that one size no longer has to fit all – consistency of approach is achieved through the standard practice library, while flexibility is achieved by composing the appropriate practices for particular types of work.
Software practitioners need be empowered to do whatever is necessary to build great systems. Management need visibility and control of what is being done. There is often a tension between these two needs – practitioners fear intrusion whilst management fear loss of control. A practice-based approach enables a separation of concerns between project activities and project governance. With practices you can not only create and combine any set of practices to meet your specific needs, but you can create and adopt any lifecycle that suits the governance needs of your project, programme or organisation. Many of our customers use the Unified Process lifecycle – for them, it’s time proven and it works. However many other customers create their own lifecycles (typically 2 or 3) to address the needs of specific project types within their organisations, for example exploratory projects, projects where requirements or architecture are stable or unstable, or maintenance projects.
Most process documentation is of the “written once and read never” variety. And yet for new approaches to be successful across a large community of practitioners, some level of guidance is essential. For people to be able to read and digest practice guidance it needs to be simple and light. All of our practices contain guidance presented in an easy card-based format. Using cards means that the guidance is concise and focused. The practice guidance focuses on the essentials: the things that you always need to do and the competencies required in order to be successful.
Explore our practice library for some of the most popular practices that are used by many of our customers today.