Business Success in Software SMEs: Recommendations for Future SPI Studies

  • Paul Clarke
  • Rory V. O’Connor
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 301)


There is presently insufficient data regarding the relationship between software process improvement (SPI) and business success, a fact which may reduce process prioritisation in software development in practice. To assist future studies examining the relationship between SPI and business success, we developed a new two-phased approach to examining business success. The first phase involves the elicitation of business objectives for the forthcoming year, with the second phase determining the extent of achievement of the recorded objectives. At EuroSPI 2011, we described the two-phased approach in detail and reported on the findings from deploying the first phase of the examination to software developing small- and medium-sized enterprises (software SMEs). In this follow-up paper, we report on the findings from the second phase of the investigation in the participating software SMEs, formulating an additional important new recommendation for future studies.


Software Process Improvement Business Success Software SMEs 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Pall, G.: Quality process management. Prentice Hall, NJ (1987)Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    McCormack, K., Johnson, W.: Business process orientation - gaining the E-business competitive advantage. CRC Press, Florida (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Skerlavaj, M., Stemberger, M.I., Skrinjar, R., Dimovski, V.: Organizational Learning culture—the Missing Link between Business Process Change and Organizational Performance. International Journal of Production Economics 106(2), 346–367 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Van Solingen, R.: Measuring the ROI of Software Process Improvement. IEEE Software 21(3), 32–38 (2004)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Sanders, M. (ed.): The SPIRE handbook. better, faster, cheaper software development in small organisations. Centre for Software Engineering Limited, DCU, Dublin, Ireland (1998)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Von Wangenheim, C.G., Weber, S., Hauck, J.C.R., Trentin, G.: Experiences on Establishing Software Processes in Small Companies. Information and Software Technology 48(9), 890–900 (2006)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Baddoo, N., Hall, T.: De-Motivators for Software Process Improvement: An Analysis of Practitioners’ Views. J. of Sys. & Soft. 66(1), 23–33 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Coleman, G., O’Connor, R.: Investigating Software Process in Practice: A Grounded Theory Perspective. Journal of Systems and Software 81(5), 772–784 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Clarke, P., O’Connor, R.V.: The Meaning of Success for Software SMEs: An Holistic Scorecard Based Approach. In: O‘Connor, R.V., Pries-Heje, J., Messnarz, R. (eds.) EuroSPI 2011. CCIS, vol. 172, pp. 72–83. Springer, Heidelberg (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Jennings, D.F., Seaman, S.L.: High and Low Levels of Organizational Adaptation: An Empirical Analysis of Strategy, Structure, and Performance. Strategic Management Journal 15(6), 459–475 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Morgan, R.E., Strong, C.A.: Business Performance and Dimensions of Strategic Orientation. Journal of Business Research 56(3), 163–176 (2003)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ghalayini, A.M., Noble, J.S.: The Changing Basis of Performance Measurement. International Journal of Operations & Production Management 16(8), 63–80 (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Ansoff, H.I.: Corporate strategy. McGraw-Hill, New York (1965)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Reid, G.C., Smith, J.A.: What Makes a New Business Start-Up Successful? Small Business Economics 14(3), 165–182 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Nonaka, I., Toyama, R.: The Theory of the Knowledge-Creating Firm: Subjectivity, Objectivity and Synthesis. Industrial and Corporate Change 14(3), 419–436 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Maidique, M.A., Zirger, B.J.: The New Product Learning Cycle. Research Policy 14(6), 299–313 (1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hart, S.: Dimensions of Success in New Product Development: An Exploratory Investigation. J. of Marketing Management 9(1), 23–41 (1993)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Bourne, M., Mills, J., Wilcox, M., Neely, A., Platts, K.: Designing, Implementing and Updating Performance Measurement Systems. Int. Journal of Operations & Production Management 20(7), 754–771 (2000)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Lynch, R.L., Cross, K.F.: Measure up! yardstick for continuous improvement. Basil Blackwell, Cambridge (1990)Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Brown, M.G.: Keeping score: Using the right metrics to drive world-class performance. Quality Resources (1996)Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Kanji, G.K., Sa, P.M.: Kanji’s Business Scorecard. Total Quality Management 13(1), 13–27 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Neely, A.D., Adams, C., Kennerley, M.: The performance prism: The scorecard for measuring and managing business success. Prentice Hall, London (2002)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kaplan, R.S., Norton, D.P.: The Balanced Scorecard - Measures that Drive Performance. Harvard Business Review 70(1), 71–79 (1992)Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kennerley, M., Neely, A.: Performance measurement frameworks: A review. In: Business Performance Measurement - Theory and Practice. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2002)Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Gautreau, A., Kleiner, B.H.: Recent Trends in Performance Measurement - the BSC Approach. Management Research News 24(3), 153–156 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    McKenzie, F., Shilling, M.: Avoiding Performance Measurement Traps: Ensuring Effective Incentive Design and Implementation. Compensation and Benefits Review 30(4), 57–65 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Chow, C.W., Haddad, K.M., Williamson, J.E.: Applying the BSC to Small Companies. Management Accounting 79(2), 21–27 (1997)Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Andersen, H., Cobbold, I., Lawrie, G.: BSC implementation in SMEs: reflection in literature and practice. In: Proceedings of the fourth SMESME Conference, pp. 103–112. Department of Production, 2GC Limited. Aalborg University, 9220 Aalborg, Denmark (2001)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sureshchandar, G.S., Leisten, R.: Holistic Scorecard: Strategic Performance Measurement and Management in the Software Industry. Measuring Business Excellence 9(2), 12–29 (2005)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    European Commission: Commission Recommendation of 6 may 2003 Concerning the Definition of Micro, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises. 2003/361/EC. Journal of the European Union L(124), 36–41 (2003)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Osterwalder, A., Pigneur, Y.: An e-business model ontology for modeling e-business. In: Bled Electronic Commerce Conference, pp. 75–91 (2002)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Molina-Castillo, F., Munuera-Aleman, J.: The Joint Impact of Quality and Innovativeness on Short-Term New Product Performance. Industrial Marketing Management 38(8), 984–993 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Clarke
    • 1
  • Rory V. O’Connor
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Lero Graduate School in Software EngineeringDublin City UniversityIreland
  2. 2.Dublin City UniversityIreland
  3. 3.Lero, The Irish Software Engineering Research CentreDublin City UniversityIreland

Personalised recommendations