Understanding the gap between software process practices and actual practice in very small companies Articles uri icon



publication date

  • September 2016

start page

  • 549

end page

  • 570


  • 3


  • 24

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0963-9314

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1573-1367


  • This paper reports on a grounded theory to study into software developers' use of software development processes in actual practice in the specific context of very small companies. This study was conducted in three very small software product companies located in Ecuador. The data collection was based on semi-structured qualitative interviews with software project managers, focus group with software developers and was supplemented by the literature and document studies. We interviewed two types of participants (managers and developers), so as to ensure that we elicited a holistic perspective of how they approached the software development process in actual practice. The goal was to study what practices are actually used and their opinion and attitude toward the potential adopting of an international standard (ISO/IEC 29110) specifically designed for very small companies. With the collected data, we performed an analysis utilizing grounded theory coding techniques, as this methodology promotes the focus on uncovering the real concerns of the participants. This study highlighted three areas of concern: customer, software product and development tasks coordination and tracking. The findings in this study give an insight toward the work products as they relate to software development process practices in very small companies and the important factors that must be considered to assist project success.


  • grounded theory; software process; software process improvement; very small entity; spi; vse; process improvement; small enterprises; organizations; framework; cmmi