Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Investments in reusable software

Today, we had another interesting discussion in the RiSE group involving a work of David Rine and Robert Sonnemann entitled "Investments in reusable software. A study of software reuse investment success factors", published at Journal of Systems and Software, v. 41 pages 17-32, 1998. Rine and Sonemann support the theory that a set of success factors that are common among the organizations exist and have some previsibility relationships with software reuse. Besides, the research of Rine and Sonemann also investigated if the reuse really has influence in the software productivity and quality.

The success factors were grouped into the following categories: administration (management) commitment; investment strategy; business strategy; technological transfer; organizational structure; process maturity, product line approach; software architecture, components availability; and components quality. To measure the experience in software reuse (reuse capability), productivity, quality and the set of success factors,
Rine and Sonemann developed a questionnaire.

During the discussion some topics and positions adopted by
Rine and Sonemann were questioned, such as: (1) why specify five levels to reuse capability model? Is the level approach the better choice? why do not use scenarios, for example, to suggest and to aid the organizations to identify their position in the reuse practices? (2) the model to calculate the overall probability of reuse success is subjective. (3) the success factors is not a big surprise for us, but this occur because we are reuse practitioners and researches or because is it the obvious choice? (4) the focus on productivity and quality is a better way to target the organizations and to advocate in favor of reuse practices. (5) to get the support of the management people, and the industry, we need ways to show the benefits and the better way is measure the activities, so the utilization of metrics to measuring the software reuse capability. (6) more studies and details are needed to explain the reuse capability model, specially the process of assessment of reuse capability of an organization and the process of reuse implementation in this organization, according to reuse capability model.

So, I think that this work is a very good contribution in the reuse adoption area. We know that reuse adoption is a great advantage for organizations, and this is the main issue to "hide" some activities, tasks and some information about that. I believe that our reuse adoption model can evolve in our environments (such as
CESAR and PITANG) to reach a maturity to be shared with other organizations.


Fred Durao said...

The conclusion of this paper confirms our belief: large companies face problems to adopt reuse. Indeed, this problem is a great opportunity for the RiSE members propose models with guidelines, tooling and activities based on our daily experience at C.E.S.A.R.

Ricardo Cavalcanti said...

My personal belief was that a larger set of non-technical issues would figure on the paper´s conclusion. Perhaps they weren´t there simply because those who answered the survey were *already interested* in software reuse.

I agree with Fred, that such paper shows a great business opportunity, but I would maintain an eye on non-technical issues, such as management knowledge of software reuse and senior reuse advocates and supporters. I see the RiSE Group a step ahead, as it has already its processes and reuse toolset, and keeps building peopleware who can teach and advocate such practices and capabilities.

Eduardo Almeida said...

I liked this paper and we have some others which can complement it. I suggest the paper “How reuse influences productivity in object-oriented systems” by Vic Basili et al. involving metrics. About the general idea, I have some feelings. Even with a discussion involving David Weiss, I believe that five in this case can be a magic number. I prefer the approach based on perspectives. I think that scenarios we can have several of them and it can be spread. On the other hand, scenarios can be included in perspectives such as Lucredio et al. and Maurizio et al. studies which use perspectives as the more general granularity.
An important comment is about the reuse maturity models. Yes, we have several of them - see Garcia, V. C.; Lucrédio, D.; Alvaro, A.; Almeida, E. S.; Fortes, R. P. M.; Meira, S. R. L. Towards a Maturity Model for a Reuse Incremental Adoption, In the 1st Brazilian Symposium on Software Components, Architecture and Reuse (SBCARS), Campinas, São Paulo, Brazil, 2007 - published in the literature. However, these models are not used in industrial context in general. I believe that reuse maturity models just can be effective when they are experimented with several companies with different contexts, people, skill. Thus, I think that Porto Digital in Brazil can be the right place to try it. That must be our challenge.