ERCIM News No.32 - January 1998

Web-based Measurement for Process Improvement

by Lars Bergman

A number of trial measurements for Development Process Improvement, eg Software, are now carried through by SISU, Swedish Institute for Systems Development, as a result of some years work in the field of development process improvement, in Swedish Organizations.

A spectrum of web-based questionnaires is used, covering different aspects of the Development Process. The advantages of Internet/Intranet based measurement is the technology independence, the rapid measuring to result presentation on the Web. This in turn increases the motivation to use and thus apply the results. The rapid feed-back gives opportunity to engage the people concerned broadly and still in a focussed way. The tool-set normally gives a very costefficient measuring process an advantage which increases for large and distributed respondent populations.

For the measuring a tool-set is used containing a tool, WISE, for rapid production of web-based questionnaires, statistical software for analysis and presentation on the Web. The answers are stored in a standard relational database and then accessed by standard statistical software for processing and then web-presentation. A Measurement Administration Tool is used for sampling, mailing and reminding respondents.

A set of questionnaires are available for measuring different aspects of the development process, such as Development Process Integration in a Concurrent Engineering perspective, Working Life Conditions supporting Creativity, Organizational Values concerning Development. Capability Maturity Model (by Software Engineering Institute, US) Light version for self assessment.

Some measurements using WISE and the administrative tool has been made for Lead Time measurement, Customer Satisfaction, Organizational IT Maturity as well as for Quality Improvement.

The basic philosophy in the development of the domain tool-set is that in order to attain sustainable process improvements you have to make changes not only in your process but in People and Organization. Measurement is a requisite in order to attain a fact based change process. Continuous measurement is important to keep a change keeping momentum and to make certain that changes reach stable states.

Planned steps for development are, application of the Balanced Score Card concept to development processes and projects, development of the Process Measurement Warehouse, to get synergies from making "all" measurement results available and useable within an development organization. Also the Project Health Monitor which is aimed at installing and using parts of the tool-set for continuous measuring in ongoing projects in order to get early warnings of problems arising within development projects.

Please contact:

Lars Bergman - SISU
Tel: +46-8-752 1613

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