Prescription, Description, Reflection: the shape of the software process improvement field

Bo Hansen, Jeremy Rose, Gitte Tjørnehøj

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article reviews 322 representative contributions to the the Software Process Improvement (SPI) literature. The contributions are categorised according to a simple framework: whether their primary goal is (to tell SPI professionals what to do), (to report actual instances of SPI programs in software organisations), or   prescriptive descriptive reflective (theoretically analytical). The field is found to be rather dominated by one approach (the Capability Maturity Model (CMM)) and heavily biased towards prescriptive contributions. Neither of these trends is necessarily beneficial, and it is argued that more theoretically reflective contributions could encourage a diversity of approaches which might also benefit practitioners.
Original languageDanish
JournalInternational Journal of Information Management
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)457-472
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

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