SPI holds secret for software success, conference hears


1 Jun 2006

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Irish software companies have been urged to adopt efficient development processes in order to continuously improve and deliver quality products.

This was the theme of Enterprise Ireland’s Conference on Effective Software Development which took place in Dublin yesterday. A similar event will take place in Cork today. The event was opened yesterday morning by Michael Ahern TD, Minister for Trade and Commerce, who spoke of the need for companies in the software sector to have a greater awareness, utilisation and implementation of software process improvement (SPI) methodologies.

“I understand that SPI is about continuously improving our approach to software management and development. Its primary aim is to ensure that our processes are as efficient and effective as possible. It involves building quality, robustness and predictability of performance as well as ease of maintenance throughout the product lifecycle.”

From a customer service perspective, SPI is about Irish companies being able to consistently deliver high-quality products and services in time and on budget, he added.

“Globally, the software services and products market has come of age and like any mature market, customers are less forgiving of mistakes and less tolerant of gimmicks. Supplying software that does not work or perform to the customer’s expectations can have a seriously negative effect on business and it can, over time, have a detrimental impact on the total Irish software industry,” said Ahern.

“Regardless of the technological brilliance of Irish software, it must be delivered on time and perform consistently, without unpredictable breakdowns or failures.”

Last year Enterprise Ireland surveyed 30 Irish software development houses and found that not one of them had a recognisable software development process, although some had a number of the elements in operation.

Ahern urged that senior management within companies make SPI a priority. “There are proven methods in use in software companies worldwide. The preferred software development method is a repeatable predictable approach that is flexible to market needs, guides staff and management, minimises risks, prevents costly mistakes, expedites efforts and encourages creativity. This doesn’t happen by accident and will not happen at all without management involvement and direction,” he said.

By Gordon Smith