Until Agile, software processes in general focused on larger projects. When applied to smaller projects they can become cumbersome and inefficient. Agile has demonstrated its value on relatively small projects, but it does not scale up well, and in my opinion some of its core tenets are incompatible with safety-critical development.

While I have plenty of opinions and thoughts on customizing software development processes for smaller projects, in this case I am writing this article to point you toward yet another great resource.

I am sure that many readers of this blog are also regular readers of the excellent D.O.D. sponsored publication, CrossTalk: The Journal of Defense Software Engineering. If you develop or manage software for a safety-critical market and you are not a CrossTalk reader, you are truly missing out. For many of my readers, this month’s issue [Feb 2008, Vol. 21, No. 2] is particularly relevent, since the focus is on software process for smaller projects; which includes perhaps 90% of all software projects.

While there is no hard and fast rule on what consitutes a “smaller” project, one of the authors provides an approximation giving a large project as about 1 MLOC, and a small project as about 100 KLOC. Applying a bit of fuzzy-logic we might determine that a “smaller” project, then is anything less than about 700 KLOC. This is convenient if you need a hard-number, but in fact, when it comes to scaling a software process, the size serves as a single point along a continuum. Some aspects of a given process may work for projects of any size, and some will not. This is the focus of this month’s issue of CrossTalk.

When you finish reading don’t forget to get the CMMI in Small Settings Toolkit Repository, as referenced in the CrossTalk article, “Is CMMI Useful and Usable in Small Settings? One Example”. Enjoy!

About Max H:
Max is a father, a husband, and a man of many interests. He is also a consulting software architect with over 3 decades experience in the design and implementation of complex software. View his Linked-In profile at http://www.linkedin.com/pro/swarchitect