Introduction: Checking In on a Process Improvement Revolution


This library item is related to the following area(s) of work:

Process Improvement

This article was originally published in News at SEI on: June 1, 1999

“A disciplined software engineering process includes both effective defect management

and comprehensive planning, tracking, and analysis methods,” wrote Watts Humphrey in

1995, in the preface to his book A Discipline for Software Engineering. “This book

introduces these disciplines and shows you how to use them to do better development

work on both small and large programs.”

With that understated passage, Humphrey and the Software Engineering Institute

launched the Personal Software ProcessSM (PSPSM), a revolutionary new way for

individual software engineers—and ultimately, software organizations—to produce

computer programs. Humphrey and the SEI followed up with the Team Software

ProcessSM (TSPSM) in experimental form in 1996, recognizing that the individualized

methods of the PSP often worked best when applied by entire teams.

In this issue

The Features section of this issue of SEI Interactive checks in on this revolution-inprogress.

Our Background article, “CMM, PSP, and TSP: Three Dimensions of Software

Improvement,” offers a condensed version of Humphrey’s three-part series in the

February, March, and April 1998 issues of CrossTalk magazine (available online at The article provides an overview of how PSP and TSP

can give individuals and teams the tools they need to achieve software process


Our Spotlight article, “Delivering on the Promise of Process Improvement,” offers status

reports from successful PSP/TSP introductions at major organizations, including Boeing,

Motorola, and Hill Air Force Base. The Roundtable discussion, “Tales from the Front

Lines: Insights from PSP/TSP Trainers and Researchers,” provides a view of the

challenges of PSP/TSP introduction from the perspective of trainers and researchers who

know first-hand how hard it is to change engineers’ ingrained behaviors.

Finally, our Links feature offers a guided tour of information available on the Web about

PSP and TSP.

SEI Interactive, 06/99 page 2

The Software Engineering Institute (SEI) is a federally funded research and development center sponsored

by the U.S. Department of Defense and operated by Carnegie Mellon University.

SM IDEAL, Interim Profile, Personal Software Process, PSP, SCE, Team Software Process, and TSP

are service marks of Carnegie Mellon University.

® Capability Maturity Model, Capability Maturity Modeling, CERT Coordination Center, CERT,

and CMM are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

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