Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University
Software Engineering Institute | Carnegie Mellon University

Personal Software Process (PSP) Fundamentals

This five-day course teaches software engineers the principles, concepts, and benefits of the PSP, a process-based approach for developing software. Students who complete the course will be able to apply the PSP methods to their own personal work process and participate on a Team Software Process (TSP) team. Students learn how to measure and analyze their personal software process, use process data to improve their personal performance, and apply PSP methods to other structured tasks. The student can choose to follow this course with PSP Advanced, a five-day course that provides in-depth coverage of the advanced topics of PSP and picks up where PSP Fundamentals leaves off. Together the two courses cover a significant subset of the PSP Body of Knowledge and help to prepare students for the PSP Developer Certification exam.

Successful completion of both PSP Fundamentals and PSP Advanced is a prerequisite to both PSP Instructor Training and TSP Coach Training.

Students learn the PSP by completing the assigned reading, attending the class lectures and class laboratory sessions, and completing the assignments. The total course completion time includes five days of class time plus additional time to complete the pre-reading and course homework. All assignments must be completed 45 days after the final day of class.

This is a blended learning course, which is a blend of real-time instruction and work that is performed at a pace that is convenient and comfortable for students (asynchronous learning). Asynchronous learning includes access to course materials, submission of assignments, and feedback from the instructors all provided online by the Blended Learning system.

Who should attend?

  • software engineers
  • software engineering students
  • software engineering instructors
  • software quality management instructors
  • third-party vendors of software engineering or quality training


  • introduction to PSP and TSP
  • defining and using processes
  • fundamental planning concepts
  • process and size measurement
  • size and resource estimating
  • proxy-based estimating (PROBE)
  • using PSP data
  • schedule planning and tracking
  • planning for software quality
  • defect management
  • team development


This course will help participants to:
  • understand the PSP process-based approach for developing software
  • measure and analyze their personal software processes
  • manage and reduce defects through their software processes


Before registering for this course, participants must be proficient in at least one programming language. Due to the quick pace of the course, students will not be successful if they attempt to learn a new programming language while attending. It is helpful to be familiar with basic statistics and to be able to read simple formal notations.

Pre-Course Work
After registering for the course, attendees will receive a copy of the book
PSP: A Self-Improvement Process for Software Engineers by Watts S. Humphrey, along with a letter detailing the pre-course reading assignments. It is important that the assigned chapters are read before coming to the course. It is also important that students do not begin the assignments until they are assigned during the course.

Students must bring with them the following portable computing equipment:

  • Laptop computer with 500 megabytes or greater of free hard disk space
  • Microsoft Office with Access 2003 & Microsoft Office Service Pack 2, or Microsoft Office with Access 2007
  • Programming language development environment (compiler, editor, etc.)
  • Zip file capability
  • CD-ROM or memory stick
  • Wireless network card
  • a simple 4-function calculator

Please note: Beta versions of Microsoft Office products are not supported.


Course materials are made available to participants by means of access to the SEI Blended Learning platform. Login access will be provided at the beginning of the course.


This five-day course meets at the following times:
Day 1, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Days 2-4, 8:15 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Day 5, 8:15 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Training courses provided by the SEI are not academic courses for academic credit toward a degree. Any certificates provided are evidence of the completion of the courses and are not official academic credentials.

Course Details

Course Fees [USD]

U.S. Industry: $3000

U.S. Government/Academic: $2400

International: $6000

This course may be offered by special arrangement at customer sites.

For More Information

Phone: 412-268-7622