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Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up Process Improvement
July/August 1994 (vol. 11 no. 4)
pp. 12-13

There are two approaches to process improvement. The top-down approach compares an organization's process with some generally accepted standard process. Process improvement is then the elimination of differences between an existing process and a standard one. The assumption is that, once the process is changed the generated products will be improved-or at least the risk of generating new software will he reduced. The bottom-up approach assumes that process change must be driven by an organization's goals, characteristics, product attributes, and experiences. Change is defined by a local domain instead of a universal set of accepted practices. For example, an organization whose primary goal is improving time to market may take a significantly different approach to process change than one whose primary goal is to produce defect-free software.

Index Terms:
software quality; project management; bottom-up process improvement; top-down approach; generally accepted standard process; new software; bottom-up approach; process change; organization goals; product attributes; local domain; accepted practices; defect-free software
Martyn Thomas, Frank McGarry, "Top-Down vs. Bottom-Up Process Improvement," IEEE Software, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 12-13, July-Aug. 1994, doi:10.1109/52.300121
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