Employees’ Motivation for Spi: Case Study in a Small Finnish Software Company

Topics: Motivation, Software engineering, Software development Pages: 17 (5571 words) Published: October 6, 2010
Employees’ Motivation for SPI: Case Study in a Small Finnish Software Company

Abstract. In small software companies the resources available for SPI are often limited. With limited resources, the motivation of the employees becomes one of the key factors for SPI. In this article, the motivational factors affecting a small company’s SPI efforts are discussed. In the research, we carried out interviews and a survey in a small Finnish software company considering the motivation towards SPI. The results are presented here and compared with earlier motivation research. There were differences revealed while comparing the motivating factors of smaller companies to those of larger ones. In large companies the focus seems to be on the business related motivators and in small ones the motivators related to comfortability of work are emphasized. Motivation survey and the interviews proved to be useful tools in planning the future SPI strategy. A lot of valuable information was discovered for planning and implementing the next steps of SPI.



Small and very small software companies are fundamental to the growth of many national economies and it is crucial to note that small companies should not be seen less important and influential than large ones, while the term small may imply this. Majority of software companies are small [1], for example in Finland vast majority of companies operating in both data processing and software engineering fields employ less than 50 employees1 . Small companies need to maintain and enhance their competitiveness and for that they need to improve their processes. However, small companies do not necessarily share the same characteristics and goals as large ones, which affect SPI efforts. There are certain unique features of small companies that need to be understood [1,2]. Their resources, both financial and human, are often limited, and management, work, and organizational culture may differ greatly from the ones in large organizations. For example, in small software companies employees often work in several roles and practically every employee is involved directly or indirectly in software development process, whether one wants or does not want to be involved, whether one has software engineering background or not. 1

http://www.stat.fi (2006)

R.V. O’Connor et al. (Eds.): EuroSPI 2008, CCIS 16, pp. 152–163, 2008. c Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Employees’ Motivation for SPI


Considering the limited resources – especially the employees, the human resources - who represent a crucial part of companies’ process infrastructure [3], their motivation for SPI has to be taken into account as one important factor for successful improvement initiatives and implementation. Their motivation to adapt new practices to daily work is significant for the SPI success. Practitioners’ SPI motivators and de-motivators have been studied earlier in different cultural contexts for example by Baddoo et al. in UK [4,5,6] and Niazi et al. in Vietnam [7]. However, previous studies of SPI motivation have concentrated on exploring motivation mainly in large and SME sized software companies, and not emphasized the small and very small software companies. In this paper, we present a case study of SPI motivators in a small Finnish software company. We have studied SPI motivation applying methods and motivators from studies of Baddoo et al. [4] and Niazi et al. [7]. The focus in this research is on considering motivation from employees’ and management’s perspectives. The results are compared with the previous studies [4,7]. This paper aims at providing a more comprehensive perspective of small software companies’ employees’ motivation and point of views about SPI. Additionally, the effect of the management’s motivation towards SPI in a small company is discussed. The paper is organized as follows: In Section 2, the case context and research questions are presented. In Section 3, the research strategy...

References: 1. Richardson, I., von Wangenheim, C.G.: Guest Editors’ Introduction: Why are Small Software Organizations Different? IEEE Software 24, 18–22 (2007) 2. Horvat, R.B., Rozman, I., Gyrks, J.: Managing the complexity of SPI in small companies. Software Process: Improvement and Practice 5, 45–54 (2000) 3. Kaltio, T., Kinnula, A.: Deploying the defined SW process. Software Process: Improvement and Practice 5, 65–83 (2000)
Employees’ Motivation for SPI
4. Baddoo, N., Hall, T.: Motivators of Software Process Improvement: an Analysis of Practitioners’ Views. Journal of Systems and Software 62, 85–96 (2002) 5. Baddoo, N., Hall, T.: De-motivators for Software Process Improvement: an Analysis of Practitioners’ Views. Journal of Systems and Software 66, 23–33 (2003) 6. Baddoo, N., Hall, T.: Software Process Improvement Motivators: An Analysis using Multidimensional Scaling. Empirical Software Engineering 7, 93–114 (2004) 7. Niazi, M., Ali Babar, M.: Motivators of Software Process Improvement: An Analysis of Vietnamese Practitioners’ Views. In: Proceedings of EASE 11th International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (2007) 8. Demir¨rs, O., Demir¨rs, E.: Software Process Improvement in a Small Organizao o tion: Difficulties and Suggestions Software Process Technology. In: Proceedings of the 6th European Workshop on Software Process Technology EWSPT. Springer, Heidelberg (2006) 9. Curtis, B., Hefley, W.E., Miller, S.A.: The People Capability Maturity Model: Guidelines for Improving the Workforce. Addison-Wesley, Reading (2002) 10. Zahran, S.: Software process improvement: practical guidelines for business susccess. Addison-Wesley Longman Ltd., Essex (1998) 11. Abrahamsson, P.: Is Management Commitment a Necessity After All in Software Process Improvement. In: Proc. 26th Euromicro. Conf., vol. 2, pp. 246–253 (2000) 12. Yin, R.K.: Case Study Research: Design and Methods. Sage Publications Inc., Thousand Oaks (2003) 13. Ahonen, J.J., Forsell, M., Taskinen, S.K.: A modest but practical software process modeling technique for software process improvement. Software Process Improvement and Practice 7, 33–44 (2002) 14. Niazi, M., Wilson, D., Zowghi, D.: Critical Success Factors for Software Process Improvement Implementation: An Empirical Study. Software Process Improvement and Practice 11, 193–211 (2006) 15. Dyb˚ T.: Factors of software process improvement success in small and large ora, ganizations: an empirical study in the scandinavian context. In: Proceedings of the 9th European software engineering conference held jointly with 11th ACM SIGSOFT international symposium on Foundations of software engineering, pp. 148–157. ACM Press, New York (2003)
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