1;3409;0c Deeper questions: the metaproblem of large organizations developing complex systems and the limits of process

Deeper questions: the metaproblem of large organizations developing complex systems and the limits of process

ACM SIGSOFT Software Engineering Notes, vol. 30, no. 4, 2005
Pages: 1-6DOI: 10.1145/1082983.1083008

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bibtex

One applies process improvement to the software development process to increase efficiency and decrease defects. Process improvement is not a one-shot deal. Theoretically processes can be improved continuously, forever, but... The belief that continuous improvement can continue forever is analogous to the belief that by continuously improving an automobile's efficiency, eventually the day will come when the driver is forced to stop every so often to pour off excess spontaneously created gasoline. Here, the limits are the laws of thermodynamics. For the software development process the limits are the constraints of the software development organization. To improve a software process past a certain point, the organization that hosts the process's context will need to be improved, and then the context that hosts 'that' organization's process, and so on.Aha! A recursive pattern!The recognition of having a recursive problem raises deeper questions about the nature of process and process improvement, which, for this paper, will be addressed in the context of the development of large, complex, information intensive systems. Systems of this type are the ones most prone to failure and thus should benefit most from process improvement.