The majority of companies (especially SMEs) nowadays operate in a global, highly dynamic environment and must react very flexibly to new market opportunities, changing conditions, and a strong, global competitive situation, especially in the intangible business of IT. This needs to be supported, in particular, by an appropriately adapted software development approach. The natural advantage of small and medium-size enterprises – namely, that their size enables them to adapt their processes more easily to new market requirements – is currently being hindered by high market entry barriers posed by completely new, sometimes disruptive, atomic-agile processes: The basic attitude is usually: “A little agile will not do”. Such revolutionary changes, however, cannot guarantee the continuity of productivity that is particularly necessary for SMEs, and do not permit a “smart” transition. Today, there is no process adaptation that employs the help of smaller individual methods taken, among others, from the agile world (“cherry picking”).
The goal of the research project ProKoB was therefore to create an empirically supported catalog of individual process components for software development in order to meet these new requirements in a modular fashion. These process components describe concrete best practices in the development process, such as Test-Driven Development (TDD), Crowd-Testing, and Daily Stand-up Meetings. The process components are not only cataloged systematically, but also take into account interdependencies that must be considered for their orchestration. ProKoB provides a process component ontology, the systematic catalog, the empiricism of individual components, methods for orchestration, as well as transitions on how to achieve the chosen goal. All components can be edited, managed, and evaluated with tool support. The cataloging of such process components enables typical German SMEs to identify those components that are most suitable for them (“cherry picking”), to orchestrate them skillfully, and to derive an adapted transition that helps them approach optimized development processes in a planned manner to realize better time-to-market, more democratic project execution, and earlier integration of user feedback.
The evidence of the individual process components as well as of overall orchestrations was initially documented by the consortium partners. However, the goal of the project was also to expand the evidence by making the project results as well as the evidence collected on them available to all German IT companies via a web platform. This community will continue to develop the platform and will enable the consortium partners to exploit the results in the long term so as to optimize the implementation of software development projects.