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Software Engineering knowledge is obtained during software engineering efforts, such as projects, experiments and case studies that represent a valuable source of knowledge with which to enrich the discipline. This knowledge is manipulated by practitioners who are in charge of developing, maintaining or integrating software; any practitioner, experienced or beginner, possesses his/her tacit practices in order to carry out their work. However, these ways of working are frequently neither expressed nor collected in order to reason about their characteristics and properties. Moreover, the explicit ways of working, which are presented in process reference models and standards that follow a prescriptive approach, are not suitable for small software development organizations. Small organizations represent a major part of software development organizations, so it is important to know and support how they actually work.
This paper describes KUALI-BEH, a bottom-up metamodel that offers software engineering practitioners an authoring framework with which to express, adapt and share their ways of working as a collection of methods and practices. Validating and applying the metamodel showed that a bottom-up approach benefits small organizations and serves as a first step to reduce the gap between software engineering theory and practice. KUALI-BEH permits small organizations to create an organizational working method and to gradually introduce them to the adoption of standards and reference models. Practitioners with different levels of competence, from inexperienced to senior, adopt and use KUALI-BEH successfully with minimal training and without any consulting services.
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