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Software Development Practices in Small Entities : an ISO29110-based Survey

Small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) involved in software development often experi-ence problems in mastering their development process, especially smaller companies. This can result in a decreased efficiency leading to problems such as time/cost overruns or failing to address functional and non-functional requirements (reliability, performance, usability, etc.). Globally, this can reduce significantly the customer satisfaction and hamper the enter-prise growth potential.
In this paper, we report about a survey conducted in Belgium to assess more precisely which and how SMEs are affected by these problems. The survey was driven by the ISO29110 lightweight standard focusing on very small entities (VSEs) developing software whose in-ternal IT department is less than 25 people. This represents a very large portion of SMEs in business. In particular, survey results highlight the most frequent issues and how they are linked to some organisation/project characteristics. The survey is based on a free online self-assessment consequently, in addition to identifying issues encountered by enterprises it is also possible to infer a set of quick-win recommendations to solve these issues. We could also cross-check the relevance of ISO29110 recommended tasks and activities in compari-son with those already in place at companies participating to the survey. Our results are also compared with those reported by other surveys targeting both large and small companies.

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This paper got the BEST INDUSTRY PAPER AWARD