This paper intends to give account on successes and difficulties encountered over
the last decade by two Hungarian companies with strong commitment to software process
improvement. The cases are positioned with respect to milestones of software process
improvement initiatives world-wide and in Hungary, and the conclusions are globally
valid despite of the differnces in the current environments. The three distinguished
stages of software process improvement are: “Awareness of process capability weaknesses”,
“SPI and ISO 9000 certification”, and “Back to the business”. And the latter one turns
out to be one of the gateways to level 4 of the emerging ISO/IEC 15504 standard.