Toward objective software process information : experiences from a case study

J. Samalikova, R.J. Kusters, J.J.M. Trienekens, A.J.M.M. Weijters, P. Siemons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
120 Downloads (Pure)


A critical problem in software development is the monitoring, control and improvement in the processes of software developers. Software processes are often not explicitly modeled, and manuals to support the development work contain abstract guidelines and procedures. Consequently, there are huge differences between ‘actual’ and ‘official’ processes: "the actual process is what you do, with all its omissions, mistakes, and oversights. The official process is what the book, i.e., a quality manual, says you are supposed to do" (Humphrey in A discipline for software engineering. Addison-Wesley, New York, 1995). Software developers lack support to identify, analyze and better understand their processes. Consequently, process improvements are often not based on an indepth understanding of the ‘actual’ processes, but on organization-wide improvement programs or ad hoc initiatives of individual developers. In this paper, we show that, based on particular data from software development projects, the underlying software development processes can be extracted and that automatically more realistic process models can be constructed. This is called software process mining (Rubin et al. in Process mining framework for software processes. Software process dynamics and agility. Springer Berlin, Heidelberg, 2007). The goal of process mining is to better understand the development processes, to compare constructed process models with the ‘official’ guidelines and procedures in quality manuals and, subsequently, to improve development processes. This paper reports on process mining case studies in a large industrial company in The Netherlands. The subject of the process mining is a particular process: the change control board (CCB) process. The results of process mining are fed back to practice in order to subsequently improve the CCB process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-120
Number of pages20
JournalSoftware Quality Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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