Last updated: 3 September 1998
A network for supporting European industry in improving the software development process has been successfully started
Since the pilot phase in 1993, ESSI (the European Systems and Software Initiative) has funded over 470 projects in order to promote Software Process Improvement (SPI), aiming to stimulate the development and diffusion of the skills necessary to take-up advanced technology results. ESSI aims at improving the software development capabilities of European enterprises. It focuses on best practice, rather than R&D, and helps to ensure European enterprises continue to have the world class skills, the associated technology, and the improved practices necessary to build the increasingly complex and varied systems demanded by the marketplace.
Process Improvement Experiments (PIEs), as the main focus of this Best Practice Initiative, form the bulk consisting of more than 390 projects. In the scope of these projects, companies from all EU countries and from different industrial sectors are encouraged to put into practice well-founded and established methods and technologies, so as to achieve greater efficiency, higher quality and savings in the software development process. The PIE scheme supports the initiation and execution of individual and well-focused SPI activities, tailored to the specific needs of the companies in reference to their business objectives with a minimum amount of required organisational overhead in the PIE project proposal and execution phase. Therefore, the PIE scheme is optimally tailored to overcome the reluctance, especially of SMEs, to start SPIs which will lead to the boost and strengthening of competitiveness of the European industry.
In order to stimulate, support and co-ordinate PIEs by means of experience exchange, dissemination and co-operation activities, the Commission has established a Network of competent partners, the so-called ESSI PIE Nodes (ESPINODEs).
The main objectives of the ESPINODEs are:
From a dissemination point of view, the PIE scheme creates a wide spectrum of project results which is due to the fact that PIE-projects are addressing company-individual process problems in a variety of application domains with different business objectives, under different conditions in reference to human resources and company constraints, etc. This potentially, highly valuable information has to be abstracted from the individual PIE projects and to be transformed into a scheme which allows for the efficient access by the community of companies in Europe, not only on a descriptive level of 'who did what', but in a fashion boosting the exchange of 'experience gained'. The ESPINODE scheme is addressing from the European-view this challenging co-operative task, properly reflecting and exploiting the EU's cultural diversity and many languages.
To achieve these objectives ESPINODEs are providing a set of services and preparing a number of activities. 18 ESPINODEs distributed throughout Europe and Israel started their work in the Spring of 1998, for a period of 24 months. The ESPINODEs started by co-operating with PIEs in their local regions, as well as with a series of actions oriented towards local industry in order to promote best practice measures in system and software development.
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