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Capability-based software engineering performance


Paul Bannerman and Mark Staples



This presentation reports the progress results of a research project with Australian industry collaborators to provide a more encompassing yet flexible way of improving the performance of software developing organizations than is possible using current software process improvement (SPI) approaches. The project was driven, in part, by companies seeking to build important capabilities that were not addressed by current solutions such as CMMI. It views software engineering as an integral part of a business venture rather than just as a technical activity.

The capability-based focus of the project is based on the view that performance is a function of the resources available to an organization to carry out its chosen activities. Performance is improved by building and exploiting the most appropriate set of capabilities for its purposes.

It presents a framework of the software organization as a collection of technical, relational and delivery capabilities required for successful software development and delivery. In this view, capabilities are more than processes; they are a composite of the knowledge, skills, routines, processes, technologies and values that organizations need to successfully conduct their activities. Some of these capabilities will be common to most organizations but others will be distinctive and, therefore, sources of performance-enhancing value.

The project aims to develop tools and techniques to identify the specific set of capabilities relevant to a particular organization, and determine their value as potential/differentiators (unlike SPI approaches, which typically prescribe a generic set of processes); measure capability and performance levels for ongoing monitoring (unlike SPI approaches such as CMMI which typically measure only once); and make improvements in targeted capability areas (which is difficult to do without ongoing monitoring). The framework enables technical capabilities to be positioned in a context of higher level resources that can be measured at an organizational level (unlike most SPI approaches which only target low level technical processes).

BibTeX Entry

    booktitle        = {Software Engineering Process Group (SEPG)},
    author           = {Bannerman, Paul and Staples, Mark},
    month            = aug,
    note             = {Software Engineering Process Group (SEPG)},
    year             = {2007},
    title            = {Capability-based Software Engineering Performance},
    address          = {Gold Coast, Australia}


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