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Dr Tom McBride

Biography

Tom McBride is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Information Technology at the University of Technology, Sydney. He has been involved in developing and teaching a number of subjects, including advanced data management, software engineering, software architecture and systems development. His research interests include software engineering, software process assessment, service management process assessment, sensemaking and decision-making in software development and service management processes. He has worked in the software industry for more than 25 years with most recent experience in both project management and quality assurance. He is involved with software engineering standards development with both Standards Australia and the International Standards Organization where he has helped to develop several standards. He is now involved in revising the process assessment, process capability and organizational maturity set of standards.

Professional

Member ACS

Image of Tom McBride
Senior Lecturer, School of Software
Core Member, HCTD - Human Centred Technology Design
BSc, GCHETL, MScSoc, PhD
Member, Australian Computer Society
 
Phone
+61 2 9514 4528

Research Interests

Quality assurance and improvement of agile software development

My general area of research is software engineering. More specifically I am interested in the gradual routinization of agile software development. When a technology is new everyone has to experiment with it to find out what works and how to do things. Gradually the better ways of doing things are discovered, codified into practices processes and similar. In time a certain amount of automation supports individual practices then collections of practices. Software development gradually changed from an informal and individual activity to very organized activity that can coordinate the efforts of thousands of software developers. However, agile software development has emerged as a way of exploring a problem and co-evolving its solution. Initially agile programming depended on the knowledge and expertise of the developer, and there were some very experienced developers leading the charge. Gradually some of the practices, particularly around project organization and management, have formalized. But so far there has been very little formalization of quality assurance practices, or any other practices that support the very demanding requirements of large, complex and critical software systems. Past quality assurance and improvement practices have depended on commonly understood processes but those processes don’t translate well to the agile environment where the development team may need to respond quickly and flexibly to the situation. Yet some organizations are managing to produce very large systems that are complex and critical. My interest is in how they do this.

Can supervise: Yes
Registered at Level 2

Software architecture, Enterprise software architecture, Enterprise software testing, System Quality Management, Software engineering

Conferences

Lepmets, M., Mcbride, T. & McCaffery, F. 2017, 'Towards safer medical device software systems: Industry-wide learning from failures and the use of safety-cases to support process compliance', Proceedings - 2016 10th International Conference on the Quality of Information and Communications Technology, QUATIC 2016, pp. 193-198.
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Mcbride, T. & Lepmets, M. 2017, 'Quality assurance in agile safety-critical systems development', Proceedings - 2016 10th International Conference on the Quality of Information and Communications Technology, QUATIC 2016, pp. 44-51.
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McBride, T. & Lepmets, M. 2016, 'Quality Assurance in Agile Safety-Critical Systems Development', Proceedings of the 2016 10th International Conference on the Quality of Information and Communications Technology, 2016 10th International Conference on the Quality of Information and Communications Technology, IEEE, Lisbon, Portugal, pp. 44-51.
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In this position paper we examine how safety could be assured when increasingly complex systems are developed using agile software development methods. We first discuss the source and nature of complexity in software systems and how a probe – sense – learn approach recommended by the Cynefin Framework is appropriate for designing complex systems and a sense – analyse – learn approach is appropriate for developing a complicated system whose design has been determined. We then examine how quality assurance is incorporated into agile software development before pointing out that those characteristics of a self-managed team that produce so many benefits for software development of complex systems whose solution evolves with problem understanding, are also vulnerable to confirmation bias. This suggests that for safety critical system development, software systems developed by agile teams will need verification and validation by independent parties. We review current quality management practices for medical device software development before discussing how our earlier findings could be adopted into safety critical software quality management.
Lepmets, M., McBride, T.M. & McCaffery, F. 2016, 'Towards Safer Medical Device Software Systems: Industry-Wide Learning from Failures and the Use of Safety-Cases to Support Process Compliance', Proceedings of the QUATIC 2016 10th International Conference on the Quality of Information and Communications Technology, QUATIC 2016 10th International Conference on the Quality of Information and Communications Technology, IEEE, Lisbon, Portugal, pp. 193-198.
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Software safety is checked today in regulatory audits, which verify software development process compliance to regulatory requirements. Ensuring safety is a critical task in complex life-supporting systems and despite many existing ways of assuring it, unanticipated failure will always be possible. Checking process compliance to required standards ensures the quality of the processes by which software is developed but does not necessarily indicate the quality of the resultant software. Since medical device domain is facing an increasing amount of device recalls due to software failures, our goal is to explore the underlying reasons for this and suggest two improvements within this paper. First, we will introduce complicated and complex systems to illustrate why there will always be unforeseeable and unanticipated situations that could cause the failure of the entire system. We will then describe how medical device software systems are reviewed for compliance and safety today, highlighting the shortcomings in the current methods adopted in the medical device domain and suggest the use of systems thinking. We then propose two improvements to medical device software development where process compliance is supported by safety cases and industry-wide learning from experience.
McBride, T.M. 2014, 'The Role of Boundary Objects in the Fuzzy Front End of IT Development', 2014 23rd Australian Software Engineering Conference (ASWEC), Australasian Software Engineering Conference, Conference Publishing Services (CPS), Sydney.
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Different domains develop their own world views making collaboration between subject matter experts difficult. Despite the difficulties, IT project personnel routinely manage to establish common understanding. Documented software development methodologies say little about how that common understanding emerges or what might aid better understanding. This research sought to determine how people of diverse world views communicated their ideas and how they established that they had been understood. Of particular interest was the relevance and operation of boundary objects. The investigation quickly revealed that innovative problems required more abstract boundary objects over which different stakeholders could exchange meaningful understanding but that assuring understanding had been accomplished was invariably reflected explanation. The findings have implications for software development methodologies, pointing out a need for more awareness of a range of boundary objects when understanding must be achieved between diverse stakeholders such as business owners and IT specialists.
Lepmets, M., Cater-Steel, A., Mesquida, A.L., O'Connor, R.V. & McBride, T.M. 2014, 'A cynefin based approach to process model tailoring and goal alignment', 2014 9th International Conference on the Quality of Information and Communications Technology (QUATIC), International Conference on the Quality of Information and Communications Technology, IEEE, Guimaraes, pp. 166-169.
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In an industrial context all process models require a certain amount of tailoring to fit to the business environment of any specific organization in which the model is to be deployed. Process models should therefore be accompanied by tailoring guidelines and approaches to assist with strategic and operational goal alignment that support their use in industry. This paper explores shortcomings of process improvement and the existing process models, suggesting that a more holistic approach should be taken to process improvement in the modern organization. The paper provides an overview of systems thinking and the Cynefin framework that organizations can use to detect the characteristics of the domain in which they are operate. Knowing their domain helps the organization realize the amount of tailoring and goal alignment necessary to benefit from implementing process model guidance.
Jung, H.W., Varkoi, T. & McBride, T.M. 2014, 'Constructing process measurement scales using the ISO/IEC 330xx family of standards', Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination, SPICE 2014, Vilnius, Lithuania.
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McBride, T.M. & Lepmets, M. 2012, 'The Many Forms of Process Improvement: Results of an International Survey', 4th International Conference, SWQD 2012, Proceedings, Software Quality Days, Springer, Vienna, pp. 103-120.
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When discussing process improvement, different authors assign different goals of improvement and describe different methods of improvement. Several process improvement methods and theories of organizational performance are examined to reveal how each might give rise to different concepts and concerns of process improvement. There is little empirical information available to support or refute such expectations about improvements made to software development processes, whether through formal process improvement initiatives or through responses to changes in the development environment. In the absence of such information those involved in process improvement, from standards development through to consultants and those who implement process improvement projects, risk making poor decisions about what changes should be made to the processes. A project to develop and run an international survey was conducted by a number of researchers from different parts of the world to understand various forms of process improvements, their goals and motivations. The result of the study indicates that the motivations for process improvement are not matched by the improvement goals that are themselves not achieved by the implemented improvements. The study also contradicted commonly cited beliefs that process improvement changes are seldom reviewed, are seldom permanent and can make the situation worse
Lepmets, M. & McBride, T.M. 2012, 'Process improvement for the small and agile', Systems, Software and Services Process Improvement, 19th European Conference, EuroSPI 2012: Communications in Computer and Information Science Vol 301, Systems, Software and Services Process Improvement, Springer, Vienna, Austria, pp. 310-318.
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In order for process improvement to better respond to industry expectations there needs to be a value-centric thinking about processes so that all processes in the organization are contributing to the creation of value for the customer and for the organization. To achieve this, organizations strategic goals need to be aligned with process goals on operational level so that all work contributes to the strategic goals of the organization. Similarly, the performance measurement system needs to be revised to direct efforts toward reaching the broad goals of the cross-functional processes rather than small tasks and compliance to set rules. In this paper we describe potential problems process improvement has today and discuss possible concepts that might help revising the process improvement thinking. These changes clearly reflect the needs and characteristics of small and very small organizations.
McBride, T.M. & Henderson-Sellers, B. 2011, 'A Method Assessment Framework', Engineering Methods in the Service-Oriented Context, IFIP WG 8.1 Working Conference on Method Engineering, ME, Springer, Paris, pp. 64-76.
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Situational method engineering is used to create methods for use on projects. It is vital that such constructed methods be of good quality and relevant to the software development project in hand. Current capability assessment approaches cannot readily be applied to such SME-constructed methods since they do not differentiate between the three 'phases' of method construction and enactment: method design, method enactment and method performance. Here, we clearly differentiate the kind of quality assessment activities that need to be performed in these three different situations.
McBride, T.M. & Bailey, P.G. 2010, 'Process description elements required for process improvement', Proceedings of the 10th International SPICE Conference 2010, International SPICE Conference 2010: Process Improvement and Capability Determination in Software, Systems Engineering and Service Management, Edizione ETS, Pisa, Italy, pp. 89-94.
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Process descriptions have developed in different fields resulting in emphasis on different process elements. To date process improvement has relied on a wider understanding of process than is contained in the description. We examine different process elements as they emerged over time and through various domains. While it is possible to develop theoretical models of processes, including the process elements, a reasonable starting point is to assume that industry has gradually evolved some idea of process elements through implementing process improvements. A survey of process improvements is described in which the changed process elements are identified. The survey data and findings are described before drawing conclusions and recommending work that should be performed as a consequence of those findings
McBride, T.M. 2009, 'The Evolution of Software Development Processes in a University Subject', Software Process Improvement and Capabiltiy Determination: 9th International Conference, Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination, TUCS General Publication, Turku, Finland, pp. 57-62.
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The environment of a university subject provides an opportunity to make process changes and check their effects. To prepare students for an industry placement year, groups of students developed a small but challenging application through a sequence of deliverable documents as well as the coded, functioning system. Over a number of years, software development processes were introduced and revised based on observations of student problems, learning outcomes and the quality of the delivered documents and system. The processes gradually changed from work instruction centred to decision-making centred. Additionally, the common process tasks, the majority, were identified as common. Some observations are made of the applicability of these changes to process based standards.
McBride, T.M. 2009, 'Applying Control Theory to Capability Measurement Scales', Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination: 9th International Conference, Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination, TUCS General Publication, Turku, Finland, pp. 1-6.
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Capability and maturity models are widely accepted. Generally the first three levels of most capability models have the same general goal, a defined repeatable process, but may differ in their implementation of that goal. As well, organizations are more likely to involve multiple independent parties in the development or service management processes. Organization theory and control theory provide principles that support the first three levels of most capability models. However, different forms of organizational control and coordination require that the evidence used to assess achievement of the different capability levels must broaden from its current focus on activities and tasks to include work products, their characteristics and verification, and skills, competence and training.
Ab Aziz, R., Zowghi, D. & McBride, T.M. 2009, 'Towards a Classification of Requirements Relationships', Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering, International Conference on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering, Knowledge Systems Institute Graduate School, Boston, Massachusetts, pp. 26-32.
Requirements are related to and affect each other in many different ways. Developing a comprehensive knowledge of these relationships is an important part of understanding requirements. This paper proposes a classification of requirements relationships from several perspectives such as Feature Oriented, Aspect Oriented and Goal Oriented Approaches. We compare and contrast these relationship classifications and provide examples of each to increase our understanding of this complex phenomenon. This paper aims at integrating requirements relationship classifications from major bodies of work in requirements engineering and to improve awareness on the role they play in software testing practices.
Ab Aziz, R., Zowghi, D. & McBride, T.M. 2009, 'Towards a Classification of Requirements Relationships', Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering (SEKE 2009), International Conference on Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering, Knowledge Systems Institute Graduate School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA, pp. 26-32.
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Requirements are related to and affect each other in many different ways. Developing a comprehensive knowledge of these relationships is an important part of understanding requirements. This paper proposes a classification of requirements relationships from several perspectives such as Feature Oriented, Aspect Oriented and Goal Oriented Approaches. We compare and contrast these relationship classifications and provide examples of each to increase our understanding of this complex phenomenon. This paper aims at integrating requirements relationship classifications from major bodies of work in requirements engineering and to improve awareness on the role they play in software testing practices.
Vieira, R.F. & McBride, T.M. 2009, 'Using Strategic Planning for Selection of SPI Processes: an Experience Report', Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination: 9th International Conference, Software Process Improvement and Capability Determination, TUCS General Publication, Turku, Finland, pp. 28-33.
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This paper reports a successful experience of the use of strategic planning for selection of Software Process Improvement (SPI) processes. It presents an unexpected benefit from this approach, which was the adoption of SPI processes by a non-software development area of the organisation. Current SPI models either fail to provide guidance on which processes to improve at first, in continuous models, or provide a set of processes that are not guaranteed to be the ones strategic to the organisation, in staged models. Thus, each particular organisation has to create a strategy to make such decision or venture into the risks of using a generic approach that may not be aligned with the organisationâs needs. This article reports a case study based on the experience of a government agency in Brazil.
Syed Mohamad, S.M. & McBride, T.M. 2009, 'Open Source, Agile and Reliability Measures', Software Quality Engineering: Proceedings of the CONQUEST 2009, The International Conference on Quality Engineering in Software Technology, International Software Quality Institute, Nuremberg, pp. 103-117.
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As open source and agile development do work in some circumstances, particularly with regard to shorter and more frequent release policy, we wonder whether the defect profile (reliability growth) found in the open-source projects so far is typical of open-source software development or of software developed iteratively and incrementally. To investigate this, we examined an open source web testing tool developed by an agile leading company. The results of this analysis indicate two findings. First, it supports the tentative findings that iteratively developed software does not exhibit a standard reliability growth in the defect modeling, and second, somewhat surprisingly that the defect density is reducing, as a sign of improving in quality yet the normal measure of software reliability are not useful.
McBride, T.M. 2008, 'Decision-making in Software Development', SPICE 2008, Conference on Process Improvement and Capability dEtermination in Software, Systems Engineering and Service Management, IEEE Press, Nuremberg, pp. 1-6.
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There are many decisions made during the processes of software development and there are several decision-making methods that could be used in any specific circumstance. International standards for software and systems engineering tend to assume a specific decision-making method will be used in some processes while in others the decision-making method is implied rather than explicitly stated. An empirical study investigated which decision-making methods were used by practicing software developers. The study found that practitioners used a variety of methods, highlighting the need for flexible processes and flexible assessment of those processes where decision-making is concerned.
Syed Mohamad, S.M. & McBride, T.M. 2008, 'Reliability Growth of Open Source Software using Defect Analysis', Proceedings of International Conference on Computer Science and Software Engineering (CSSE 2008) - Vol 2, International Conference on Computer Science and Software Engineering, IEEE Computer Society Publications, Wuhan, pp. 662-667.
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We examine two active and popular open source products to observe whether or not open source software has a different defect arrival rate than software developed in-house. The evaluation used two common models of reliability growth models; concave and S shaped and this analysis shows that open source has a different profile of defect arrival. Further investigation indicated that low level design instability is a possible explanation of the different defect growth profile.
Syed Mohamad, S.M. & McBride, T.M. 2008, 'A Comparison of the Reliability Growth of Open Source and In-House Software', 15th Asia-Pacific Software Engineering Conference, Asia-Pacific Software Engineering Conference, IEEE, Beijing, China, pp. 229-236.
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As commercial developers have established processes to assure software quality, open source software depends largely on community usage and defect reporting to achieve some level of quality. Thus, quality of open source software may vary. We examined defects reported in two active and popular open source software projects and an in-house project. The results of this analysis indicate that the reliability growth of each is quite distinct and that the defect profile of open source software appears to be a consequence of the open source software development method itself.
Gill, A.Q., Henderson-Sellers, B. & McBride, T.M. 2007, 'Agile adoption and improvement model', Online Proceedings of the European and Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems (EMCIS) 2007, European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Conference on Information Systems, Polytechnic University of Valencia, Valencia, Spain, pp. 1-9.
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Agile software development methods focus on the rapid and iterative delivery of a software product in small increments. Over the last decade, the software industry has shown a substantial interest in agile practices but there is no standard guiding vision model or framework to adopt and then use to assess or improve the agile method in a software development organization; indeed, the absence of a guiding vision model could result in the failure of the agile implementation. The purpose of this paper is to present an Agile Adoption and Improvement Model (AAIM) for the adoption, assessment and improvement of an agile software development process. We have analysed the results of several agile software process assessments, industrial case studies on the adoption of an agile approach and feedback from both researchers and the software industry for the construction of the AAIM. The AAIM can be used as a gradual road map for the adoption of an agile approach so that the required agile level can be achieved and improved over a period of time. The AAIM has been organized in three agile blocks, six agile stages (AS) and an embedded agility measurement model (to quantitatively measure the degree of agility). In AAIM, each stage specifies goals that must be achieved to attain a particular business value through the use of an agile software development approach.
Qumer, A., Henderson-Sellers, B. & McBride, T. 2007, 'Agile adoption and improvement model', Proceedings of the European and Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems, EMCIS 2007, pp. 21-29.
McBride, T.M., Henderson-Sellers, B. & Zowghi, D. 2006, 'Managing outsourced software development', UKAIS 2006- Where theory meets practice, UK Academy of Information Systems Conference, University of Gloucestershire, Cheltenham, UK, pp. 1-13.
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McBride, T.M., Henderson-Sellers, B. & Zowghi, D. 2004, 'Monitoring and controlling software development projects', Proceedings of the European and Mediterranean Conference on Information Systems (EMCIS 2004), European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Conference on Information Systems, EMCIS, Tunis,Tunisia, pp. 0-0.
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McBride, T.M., Henderson-Sellers, B. & Zowghi, D. 2004, 'Project Management Capability Levels: An Empirical Study', Proceedings 11th Asia Pacific Software Engineering Conference, Asia-Pacific Software Engineering Conference, IEEE, Busan,Korea, pp. 56-63.
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Journal articles

Larrucea, X., Gonzalez-Perez, C., McBride, T. & Henderson-Sellers, B. 2016, 'Standards-based metamodel for the management of goals, risks and evidences in critical systems development', Computer Standards and Interfaces, vol. 48, pp. 71-79.
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Safety critical system development includes a wide set of techniques, methods and tools for assuring system safety. The concept of evidence is one of the key notions used to provide safety confidence to stakeholders. Safety goals must be identified during safety analysis. In addition, risks should also be considered and managed, and linked to the achievement of safety goals. This paper proposes an extension of the ISO/IEC 24744 metamodel for development methodologies in order to integrate the management of goals, risks and evidence into system development lifecycles in an ISO/IEC 15026-compliant manner that is related to the approach of assurance cases. The proposed extension is illustrated through a real-life scenario in the automotive domain where the system being developed must comply with ISO 26262, a standard in this domain. By using the proposed approach, the management of goals, risks and evidence in critical systems development is formalized and harmonized with different ISO/IEC standards, resulting in a more robust and systematic treatment of these crucial aspects.
Gonzalez-Perez, C., Henderson-Sellers, B., McBride, T., Low, G.C. & Larrucea, X. 2016, 'An Ontology for ISO software engineering standards: 2) Proof of concept and application', Computer Standards and Interfaces, vol. 48, pp. 112-123.
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McBride, T.M. & Varkoi, T. 2014, 'A Method for Aggregating Ordinal Process Assessment Measures', Journal of Software: Evolution and Process, vol. 26, no. 12, pp. 1267-1279.
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Process capability and maturity models invariably use an ordinal scale of capability or maturity. Process assessment methods must include ways to aggregate the base assessment measures through to the capability level. As process reference models and assessment models have become more detailed, process assessments have started to assess the processes at lower levels of process attributes. Also process assessments can assess different divisions of an organization then try to combine the results to form some conclusion about the overall organizational capability. Both circumstances have exposed the problems of aggregating ordinal measures. We propose that these problems can be overcome by converting ordinal base measures to probability distributions. Doing so allows mathematical aggregation to be used at all levels of the measurement model. Although this overcomes a problem we caution that it also provides an illusion of precision and accuracy where none is justifiable, leading to a tendency to overlook the original purpose of process assessment which is to identify potential process improvements.
Henderson-Sellers, B., Gonzalez-Perez, C., McBride, T. & Low, G.C. 2014, 'An ontology for ISO software engineering standards: 1) Creating the infrastructure', Computer Standards and Interfaces, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 563-576.
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Henderson-Sellers, B., McBride, T.M., Low, G.C. & Gonzalez-Perez, C. 2013, 'Ontologies for international standards for software engineering', Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol. 8217, pp. 479-486.
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International Standards have often been developed independently of one another resulting in the multiple use of similar terminology but with different semantics as well as the more obvious dependencies between pairs of standards employing the same term with the same semantics. By the application of conceptual modelling techniques based on an ontological viewpoint, we show how the `stovepipes of software engineering standards, developed under the remit of the SC7 committee of ISO, can be reconciled into a single coherent suite of standards.
Walker, A., McBride, T.M., Basson, G. & Oakley, R. 2012, 'ISO/IEC 15504 measurement applied to COBIT process maturity', Benchmarking: An International Journal, vol. 19, no. 2, pp. 159-176.
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The assessment of COBIT process maturity levels for each COBIT process is fraught with many problems regarding the objectivity of the end result. This paper attempts to align the generic aspects of the COBIT 4.1 process maturity scale with the concepts of the Process Attributes of the ISO/IEC 15504-2 measurement scale. The goal behind this alignment attempt is to be able to automatically convert ISO/IEC 15504 assessment profile data captured for processes into their equivalent COBIT process maturity rating, to identify where there is no equivalent process assessment data and to propose how these gaps might be overcome. The end result of this computation of COBIT process maturity levels is to be able to assert that the assessed level is traceable to objective underlying assessment profile data gathered and rated according to the normative requirements of ISO/IEC 15504-2.
Lepmets, M., McBride, T.M. & Ras, E. 2012, 'Goal Alignment in Process Improvement', Journal of Systems and Software, vol. 85, no. 6, pp. 1440-1452.
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Process improvement should improve an organisation's ability to achieve its business goals. While mapping an organisation's strategic goals through various layers of management is common, such mapping does not seem to continue through to their processes that create value to the organisation. Despite a number of process improvement methods being available, and almost two decades of experience with those methods, many process improvement projects do not end successfully. We explore the impact process assessment has on process improvement. In particular, we study the alignment of an organisationâs process goals to its business goals; and the contribution of process assessment to this goal alignment. This paper illustrates the data gathered through industry survey reflecting the lack of focus on and alignment of organizationâs business goals throughout process improvement. The results indicate that there is little knowledge and experience in industry in aligning the process goals and organizationâs business goals. This, in turn, could explain the unsuccessful process improvement efforts or perhaps even the skepticism towards process improvement in general.
McBride, T.M. 2010, 'Organisational theory perspective on process capability measurement scales', Software Process: Improvement and Practice, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 243-254.
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Capability and maturity models are widely accepted. Generally, the first three levels of the most capability models have the same general goal, a defined repeatable process, but may differ in their implementation of that goal. In addition, organisations are more likely to involve multiple independent parties in the development or service management processes. Organisation and control theories provide principles that support the first three levels of most capability models. However, different forms of organisational control and coordination require that the evidence used to assess achievement of the different capability levels must broaden from its current focus on activities and tasks to include work products, their characteristics and verification, and skills, competence and training.
Alami, A., Wong, B. & McBride, T.M. 2008, 'Relationship Issues in Global Software Development Enterprises', Journal of Global Information Technology Management, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 49-68.
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Recent studies have shown a substantial growth in the global IT outsourcing market. The literature discusses an extensive range of various IT outsourcing models. This study introduces a cross onshore and offshore outsourcing model. It discusses relationship issues between the vendor and its offshoring centre. The research reveals that global IT enterprise models face serious relationship issues. These issues are cultural differences, communication, economic conditions in the offshoring country, harsh contract penalties, lack of client support, lack of clientâs domain knowledge, unrealistic time frames and the cost saving objectives of the model. The research uses a qualitative research methodology based on multiple case studies.
McBride, T.M. 2008, 'A model for investigating software development failures', Journal of Research and Practice in Information Technology, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 55-67.
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A software accident is an unforseen outcome that arises from a failure of a software project or software product. Death, severe injury or severe financial loss, could arise from such a failure. This paper asserts that there is not yet a good accident investigation model with which to investigate software accidents. Accident models from other fields are examined to determine their suitability for use in the field of software development. Although many existing models are very useful, all assume that the environment of the accident was operational. That is, there is a steady state of operations during which events or failures produce an accident. Software development and software operations are very different circumstances. Additionally, none of the existing models makes use of the considerable body of knowledge about software development. For these reasons a new system theoretic model is proposed, extending Levesonâs model, STAMP. The model is briefly described and discussed, and areas or research arising from the model are briefly described.
McBride, T.M. 2008, 'The mechanisms of project management of software development', Journal of Systems and Software, vol. 81, no. 12, pp. 2386-2395.
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The changing environments of software development such as component-based, distributed and outsourced software development require matching changes by project managers to monitor, control and coordinate their projects. While the objectives of project management may be well established, the mechanisms with which those objectives are achieved are less well known. An empirical study was undertaken to investigate which mechanisms were used by practising project managers to monitor, control and coordinate software development projects. First, the types of mechanisms are discussed so that the mechanisms can be classified usefully. Then, the design of the empirical study is described. The data were collected through structured interview, which provided both quantitative and qualitative data. The data are analysed for each mechanism separately and the findings presented. The study found that project managers use multiple mechanisms to achieve project management objectives and use the same mechanism to serve multiple objectives. Further research is suggested to investigate project management from the opposite orientation, that is, which objectives are served by specific project management mechanisms.
McBride, T. 2008, 'A model for investigating software accidents', Journal of Research and Practice in Information Technology, vol. 40, no. 1, pp. 19-31.
McBride, T.M. 2007, 'In Praise of Software Engineers', Information Age, vol. June/July.
McBride, T.M., Henderson-Sellers, B. & Zowghi, D. 2007, 'Software development as a design or a production project: An empirical study of project monitoring and control', Journal of Enterprise Information Management, vol. 20, no. 1, pp. 70-82.
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Purpose</B> - The paper seeks to investigate whether project managers regard software development projects as design problems or production problems. <B>Design/methodology/approach</B> - Project management literature was examined to determine what evidence there should be to indicate whether a software development project was regarded as a problem to be solved or a product to be produced. Data were then collected through structured interview of project managers currently engaged in managing software development projects. The data were analysed to determine how project managers regarded their projects and whether this matched a theoretical expectation. <B>Findings</B> - The empirical data indicated that most project managers regard their projects as production problems, where it is assumed that the underlying problem is largely understood, the project encapsulated in a planned schedule of activities and there will be an emphasis on monitoring the project against the planned progress. <B>Research limitations/implications</B> - Owing to the small sample size of fewer than 30 project managers, external validity is weak. More research is needed to confirm these results over a larger sample and to probe more subtle orientation to production or design projects. <B>Practical implications</B> - The research developed a simple test to indicate the degree of novelty of the application to be developed. The test indicates whether the application is novel and should be treated as a design problem, or well known and therefore should be treated as a production problem. <B>Originality/value</B> - The paper draws attention to the need for project managers to evaluate the type of application to be developed and to adopt an appropriate project management approach. The paper also provides a simple test to achieve that objective.
Gonzalez Perez, C., McBride, T.M. & Henderson-Sellers, B. 2005, 'A metamodel for assessable software development methodologies', Software Quality Journal, vol. 13, no. 2, pp. 195-214.
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Software development methodologies usually contain guidance on what steps to follow in order to obtain the desired product. At the same time, capability assessment frameworks usually assess the process that is followed on a project in practice in the con
Henderson-Sellers, B., Serour, M.K., McBride, T.M., Gonzalez Perez, C. & Dagher, L. 2004, 'Process Construction and Customization', Journal of Universal Computer Science, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 326-358.
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Adopting the most appropriate methodology for particular software developments remains a challenge for all industrial IT organizations. Previous attempts to promote a single approach as useful for all occasions has proven untenable. Rather, a combination of a metamodel and a repository of process/method components ("method engineering") provides a more efficacious approach, particularly as elements of the method engineering approach are able to be automated. In this paper, we advocate the use of method engineering, illustrating its utility by the construction of methodologies at various levels of process capability.
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