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Abstract

In this article we discuss four different perspectives on software process improvement, which are all based on quite different assumptions. The objective is to expand the views on software process improvement and contribute to a wider understanding of software process improvement. This might facilitate the application of software process improvement and assist in further spreading the approach. The different perspectives are expressed through four different metaphors for the work of process agents. These describe process agents as (1) technical experts, (2) facilitating participants, (3) political agents, and (4) individual therapists. We argue that the four perspectives do not preclude each other and that they can be applied to more or less effect to understand different process improvement situations. The advantages and disadvantages of each perspective for improvement work will be discussed and illustrated by examples from an ongoing software process improvement project.

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