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: C. Amting Directorate General Information Society, European Commission, Brussels th Under the 4 Framework of European Research, the European Systems and SoftÂ ware Initiative (ESSI) was part of the ESPRIT Programme. This initiative funded more than 470 projects in the area of software and system process improvements. The majority of these projects were process improvement experiments carrying out and taking up new development processes, methods and technology within the software development process of a company. In addition, nodes (centres of experÂ tise), European networks (organisations managing local activities), training and dissemination actions complemented the process improvement experiments. ESSI aimed at improving the software development capabilities of European enterprises. It focused on best practice and helped European companies to develop world class skills and associated technologies to build the increasingly complex and varied systems needed to compete in the marketplace. The dissemination activities were designed to build a forum, at European level, to exchange information and knowledge gained within process improvement exÂ periments. Their major objective was to spread the message and the results of experiments to a wider audience, through a variety ofdifferent channels. The European Experience Exchange (tUR~X) project has been one ofthese disÂ semination activities within the European Systems and Software Initiative.~UR~X has collected the results of practitioner reports from numerous workshops in Europe and presents, in this series of books, the results of Best Practice achieveÂ ments in European Companies over the last few years.