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<p>Regardless of their market niche, most companies feel pressured to release software faster: within 12 to 18 months for non-Internet companies and as quickly as three to six months for Web ventures. </p> <p>To achieve these short cycles, companies like Microsoft and Netscape have adopted techniques that can halve traditional development times: Lean production tailors work processes, tool use, methods, and project management to eliminate waste and rework. Fast cycle time mandates using development processes that require only a fraction of the time and resources ordinary processes consume. </p> <p>As the scramble to innovate reduces development time, companies must seek nontraditional approaches to software quality. Both Microsoft and Netscape, for example, improve quality, reduce costs, and decrease production time on their large projects by applying prototyping techniques perfected on small projects. To identify what drives and characterizes Internet-speed development, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia State University, and the Software Engineering Institute interviewed software developers and project managers at nine companies that use these practices. </p> <p>This study, part of an ongoing project, revealed three important trends. Time drives development decisions based on pressures to reach market first. Quality depends on whether or not practices like parallel QA are in place, the importance customers place on quality, and developers' skill levels. Finally, development processes adjust as companies tweak their methods to achieve higher quality. </p>

R. Baskerville, B. Ramesh, J. Pries-Heje, S. Slaughter and L. Levine, "How Internet Software Companies Negotiate Quality," in Computer, vol. 34, no. , pp. 51-57, 2001.
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