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

Case Studies

Working Together: The TSP and Software Architecture

Bursatec, the technology organization of Groupo Bolsa Mexicana de Valores (BMV, the Mexican Stock Exchange), recently undertook a project to develop one system that would replace three existing trading engines. Given the competitiveness of global financial markets and recent interest in Latin American economies, Bursatec needed a reliable and fast new system that could work ceaselessly throughout the day and handle sharp fluctuations in trading volume. To meet these demands, the SEI suggested combining elements of its architecture-centric engineering (ACE) method, which uses software architecture to guide system development, with its Team Software Process (TSP), which teaches software developers the skills they need to make and track plans and produce high-quality products. To learn more, see this description of the Bursatec project.

Improving Financial Systems with TSP

Nedbank, one of the largest banks in South Africa, is rolling out the SEI's Team Software Process (TSP) throughout its IT organization. In collaboration with the SEI and the Johannesburg Centre for Software Engineering at the University of Witwatersrand, Nedbank used TSP to improve software performance at the individual and team levels. Then the SEI worked with Nedbank to address the challenges of expanding and scaling the use of TSP to an organizational level. SEI researchers also helped Nedbank explore challenges common to many organizations seeking both to improve performance and to become more agile. To learn more about Nedbank's views on TSP, see their rollout video below and the blog post Improving Software Team Performance with TSP.

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Using TSP to Build Safety-Critical Systems

Beckman Coulter, a company that manufactures biomedical testing instrument systems, introduced TSP in a push for "differentiated quality" in the marketplace. While Beckman Coulter used TSP for new development, they also tried something new: applying TSP late in development to a project already in system test. A hardware and software system was being developed for hematology, and they needed to reduce defects and develop a predictable schedule for release. Working with the SEI, they identified areas of TSP that they could apply at this stage with minimal impact to the schedule. This highly successful effort resulted in a factor of 10 improvement in system reliability, satisfied customers noting no major issues after release, and a highly predictable schedule (only 3.4% variance). Beckman Coulter's TSP projects have demonstrated at least 5 times fewer defects after release. These results are not unique: High quality minimizes the unpredictable rework associated with finding defects late or after release. This applies broadly to government and industry software-reliant systems with safety-critical requirements. To learn more, see Beckman Coulter's presentation from the 2012 TSP Symposium.

Studying Product Quality Improvement Results at Cadence Design
Systems: TSP Works

The Physical Design Pittsburgh team of Cadence Design Systems, Inc., struggled to innovate in a fast-paced industry while maintaining the millions of lines of code in many products. TSP provided the framework for individuals and teams to define, measure, evaluate, and improve their work.  Over seven development cycles in a two-year period, this pilot team showed continuous and significant improvement in the quality of software released. The team accomplished this by changing their internal processes to focus more on design, personal reviews, and peer inspections, rather than unit testing as the primary method for removing defects. Not only was testing calendar time reduced, but overall development rates and throughput increased while quality improvement ranged from 1.7 to 4.9 times better than previous releases. This study describes how using TSP to plan, track, and analyze process data improved the quantity and quality of the product developed. A case study of the Cadence results will appear in the 2013 TSP Symposium proceedings.

Accelerating Process Improvement by Integrating the TSP and CMMI

Two U.S. Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR) organizations integrated the use of the TSP methodology and the Capability Maturity Modeling framework to progress from Maturity Level 1 to Maturity Level 4 in 30 months (less than half of the average time it has taken other organizations to accomplish the same maturity level progression). The detailed case study is contained in Special Report CMU/SEI-2005-SR-012.

Using the TSP on the TaskView Project

This case study, published in the February 1999 issue of Crosstalk, describes the experiences of a team that used the TSP to produce a software-intensive product for the U.S. Air Force. Read the article on the Crosstalk website.


Additional Customer Provided Information

Extensive information on TSP related subjects (books, articles, white papers, presentations) can be found in the SEI's Software Engineering Information Repository (SEIR). Use of the repository is free, but visitors will need to register and receive a password in order to view the information. The repository includes the following categories: General Information, FAQ/News Groups, Benefits/Case Studies, and Implementation (including Lessons Learned).