Antecedents and Consequences of Software Standards Adoption Practices

Antecedents and Consequences of Software Standards Adoption:

  An Empirical Study of Software Process Improvement Practices in West Africa

Mohammed-Sani Abdulai


During the past five decades, the software industry has been confronted with what has become known among academics and industry practitioners as the “Software Crisis”; a situation characterized by poor quality work, over budgeted projects and late project deliveries. This situation has been attributed to complexity, and the imperfections in the engineering processes used by software development firms to manage it. As a result improving the software engineering process of software firms has generated significant interest among scholars and practitioners. Although literature abounds on the benefits of investing in Software Process Improvement (SPI) and its general acceptance as a process that supports, guides, controls and enhances the software engineering process and outcomes, the SPI adoption landscape captured in extant literature reflects practices where only large scale organizations and firms in the matured markets are able to embrace the approach, leaving smaller organizations and firms in the developing markets wondering whether an SPI approach is realistic for them. The research community is therefore still seeking reasons why some software firms are not able to adopt Software Process Improvement (SPI) approaches in their engineering practice.

This paper is an empirical study of the SPI adoption practices among firms in the West African Software industry, which are invariably small and medium enterprises when compared to those of the 3I nations of India, Ireland and Israel and those of the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India and China. Drawing on the theory of Diffusion of Innovation, the Technology Organization and Environment (TOE) Model and the Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), the study adds to the discourse on software standards adoption by bringing to the fore what software development practitioners in the selected West African countries (Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal) consider as facilitating and inhibiting factors for adoption of SPI Models, develops an integrated TOE -TAM model, and experimentally validating it  through a field survey of 100 software companies in West Africa.

It is envisaged that the findings would provide evidence of a substantial impact on the performance of software firms in West Africa and other regions of the continent. The study also provides important implications to policy makers, software developers, other market players and the research community. The implications of the findings for research and practice would be discussed in subsequent publications.

Keywords: Software Process Improvement, Software Standards, Software Quality, CMMI, ISO 9000