There is little disagreement within the software community about the need for addressing process improvement within small businesses and projects. Small businesses in the software industry represent a significant amount of the resources applied to software problems around the world. These businesses sometimes plan on staying small, but often they hope that they will grow with success. Particularly for those who plan on growing, understanding how processes that are well-conceived, described, and used can contribute to their success in the business world is critical to attain and sustain competitiveness.
As important as this is, small businesses often find there are many more “urgent” concerns that claim their attention. This is exacerbated by the perception that defining, training, and following disciplined processes is too much work in comparison to the benefit today. Because small businesses are so often worried about day-to-day survival, thinking about how processes can help them tomorrow is often at the bottom of their priority list. Not to mention, small software companies rarely have the internal expertise and resources to perform process definition and improvement activities themselves. This means added cost that is rarely considered in the survival-level business plan.
Governments across the world have taken note of these challenges for the small businesses within their economies and have instituted a variety of approaches to encourage and support their small software businesses in taking process improvement seriously. One of the most ambitious of these government initiatives is Mexico’s MoProSoft initiative. This initiative built a national norm (in the U.S., it would be called a standard) that is explicitly targeted at the pequeña (tiny) software organizations in Mexico. The MoProSoft team looked not only at the process topics covered in other common international standards and guides, but they also identified the need in these small organizations to deal explicitly with business strategy issues, a unique contribution to the process improvement community. It is one of the several techniques that Hanna Oktaba and Mario Piattini have included in this volume.