Proefschrift: Product Focused SPI

Product Focused Software Process Improvement

The difficulties of creating high quality embedded products are addressed in this thesis. Embedded products are integrated into daily life at all kinds of levels and in all kinds of situations. Examples of embedded products include flight control systems, air bags, ATMs, mobile phones, televisions, fuel pumps, and infusion monitors. The quality of these products is an important topic, as quality has direct consequences for people’s lives, financial situation and happiness. Although most people support the importance of quality products, our ability to create or guarantee high quality embedded products is not very well established. Many products are being developed, but their level of quality is often more due to luck than judgement and sound engineering.

An approach is introduced in this thesis to manage product quality. Explicit, product driven, customisations of the development process are recommended in tandem with learning the effects on product quality of these changes. A conceptual model of this approach is presented and guidelines that can be used to apply this approach in practice
are given. The thesis is rounded of with case-studies, detailing the application of the recommended approach in an industrial setting.

With this thesis the work in this field is not finished. On the contrary; one of the conclusions presented in this thesis is that it is currently unclear what the effects on product quality are of most of the methods, techniques, tools, etc. that are being applied nowadays to make embedded software products. With this thesis a modest first step is
taken towards a situation in which creating embedded product quality becomes really a matter of ‘engineering’: a matter of taking specific actions and measuring the results of these actions. Thus I hope to contribute, be it a small step, towards a situation in which it is possible to design a specific development process for each embedded product that results in a guaranteed level of product quality. I sincerely hope that the work presented in this thesis will be adopted by other people both in industry and academia, so that the work towards this long term objective will be continued.

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