A case study in innovative process improvement: code synthesis from formal specifications

P. Garbett, J.P. Parkes, M. Shackleton, S. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traditional approaches to Software Process Improvement focus on measurement and evolutionary change within the established Software Process. This approach is attractive because it has fairly low risk but has high measurement cost, and limited potential benefit because of the concentration on evolution. At Lucas Varity we are piloting an approach to Process Improvement that focuses on deploying innovative research directed to improving productivity and maintaining or improving the existing high product quality. This approach appears to offer significantly greater gains in productivity but requires a new approach to Process Improvement. The main elements are:? A commitment to long-term strategic research to identify product related innovations within the company to acquire new technology and members of staff able to pioneer innovations. ? A commitment to medium-term research in the form of carefully controlled Process Improvement Experiments that are oriented to providing quantitative evaluation of proposed innovations. ? The development of staff capability in Design Process Reengineering to provide the basis for Process Improvement experimentation. We provide an overview of our approach to Design Process Reengineering and illustrate it by describing an ongoing experiment in the deployment of formal methods tools developed to support hardware design used in the design of safety-critical software. Preliminary results indicate that the use of such methods offer considerable advantages over conventional approaches.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417 - 424
Number of pages8
JournalMicroprocessors and Microsystems
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1999


  • Safety-critical software
  • Process to product
  • Reliability claims


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