This dissertation examines whether feedback mechanisms (such as process maturity and individual proficiency) can enable software process improvement efforts. Similar to control mechanisms (such as speedometers or gauges) in state machines, feedback mechanisms are both cause and effect. Two examples are process maturity and inspector proficiency. Process maturity focuses on inspection team practices rather than overall organizational cultures. Inspector proficiency focuses on individual abilities and motivations (coding, using support tools, and executing strategies) to work effectively during a process such as an inspection or a development project.