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Clarke P.,Dublin City University | O'Connor R.V.,Dublin City University | O'Connor R.V.,Irish Software Engineering Research Center
Journal of software: Evolution and Process | Year: 2013

Although earlier studies revealed much about software process improvement (SPI) in software small-to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), no earlier research set out to determine the full extent of SPI being implemented in software SMEs. Therefore, this study was designed from the outset to elicit all instances of SPI, which we term SPI events -no matter how small or informal. We make the important new discovery that SMEs initiate a considerable amount of SPI, albeit in varying quantities in different organisations. No earlier study reported that the practice of SPI was so widespread in software SMEs, and this is perhaps related to the extensive scope of the enquiry adopted in this study. Our study also finds that the significant majority of SPI in software SMEs is minor or moderate in nature, sometimes leveraging the human capital via improvements in tacit knowledge. Software development is an intrinsically human intensive activity, and it therefore follows that the maximisation of the human capital in an organisation is a source of competitive advantage. However, contemporary process maturity frameworks and quality management standards do not fully exploit the capacity of human capital and may therefore diminish rather than improve the competitive advantage of software SMEs. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd. Source

Clarke P.,Dublin City University | O'Connor R.V.,Dublin City University | O'Connor R.V.,Irish Software Engineering Research Center
Journal of Systems and Software | Year: 2012

In this paper, we present the findings of a study into the relationship between software process improvement (SPI) and business success in software development small- to medium-sized companies (software SMEs). A number of earlier related studies investigated the benefits of SPI in software SMEs, particularly in terms of improvements in product quality and adherence to budgetary and schedule constraints. However, only limited or indirect research has examined the relationship between SPI and business success. In this study, we adopt the Holistic Scorecard (HSC) (Sureshchandar and Leisten, 2005) as a business success reference framework, thus examining both the financial and the non-financial aspects of business success. In addition, we utilise ISO/IEC 12207 (ISO/IEC, 2008) as a comprehensive reference framework for the investigation of SPI activity in software SMEs. Through the use of new metrics introduced in this paper, the study findings establish that there is a positive association between SPI and business success in software SMEs, highlighting the importance of SPI in successful software SMEs. This is the first time that this relationship has been demonstrated using empirical data, and therefore, the findings represent a valuable new addition to the body of knowledge. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Source

Capilla R.,Rey Juan Carlos University | Bosch J.,Chalmers University of Technology | Trinidad P.,University of Seville | Ruiz-Cortes A.,University of Seville | Hinchey M.,Irish Software Engineering Research Center
Journal of Systems and Software | Year: 2014

Over the last two decades, software product lines have been used successfully in industry for building families of systems of related products, maximizing reuse, and exploiting their variable and configurable options. In a changing world, modern software demands more and more adaptive features, many of them performed dynamically, and the requirements on the software architecture to support adaptation capabilities of systems are increasing in importance. Today, many embedded system families and application domains such as ecosystems, service-based applications, and self-adaptive systems demand runtime capabilities for flexible adaptation, reconfiguration, and post-deployment activities. However, as traditional software product line architectures fail to provide mechanisms for runtime adaptation and behavior of products, there is a shift toward designing more dynamic software architectures and building more adaptable software able to handle autonomous decision-making, according to varying conditions. Recent development approaches such as Dynamic Software Product Lines (DSPLs) attempt to face the challenges of the dynamic conditions of such systems but the state of these solution architectures is still immature. In order to provide a more comprehensive treatment of DSPL models and their solution architectures, in this research work we provide an overview of the state of the art and current techniques that, partially, attempt to face the many challenges of runtime variability mechanisms in the context of Dynamic Software Product Lines. We also provide an integrated view of the challenges and solutions that are necessary to support runtime variability mechanisms in DSPL models and software architectures. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. Source

Ali R.,University of Trento | Ali R.,Irish Software Engineering Research Center | Dalpiaz F.,University of Trento | Giorgini P.,University of Trento | Souza V.E.S.,University of Trento
Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing | Year: 2011

Requirements evolution is a main driver for systems evolution. Traditionally, requirements evolution is associated to changes in the users' needs and environments. In this paper, we explore another cause for requirements evolution: assumptions. Requirements engineers often make assumptions stating, for example, that satisfying certain sub-requirements and/or correctly executing certain system functionalities would lead to reach a certain requirement. However, assumptions might be, or eventually become, invalid. We outline an approach to monitor, at runtime, the assumptions in a requirements model and to evolve the model to reflect the validity level of such assumptions. We introduce two types of requirements evolution: autonomic (which evolves the priorities of system alternatives based on their success/failure in meeting requirements) and designer-supported (which detects loci in the requirements model containing invalid assumptions and recommends designers to take evolutionary actions). © 2011 Springer-Verlag. Source

Daramola O.,Norwegian University of Science and Technology | Stalhane T.,Norwegian University of Science and Technology | Sindre G.,Norwegian University of Science and Technology | Omoronyia I.,Irish Software Engineering Research Center
2011 4th International Workshop on Managing Requirements Knowledge, MaRK'11 - Part of the 19th IEEE International Requirements Engineering Conference, RE'11 | Year: 2011

The capability to identify potential system hazards and operability problems, and to recommend appropriate mitigation mechanisms is vital to the development of safety critical embedded systems. Hazard and Operability (HAZOP) analysis which is mostly used to achieve these objectives is a complex and largely human-centred process, and increased tool support could reduce costs and improve quality. This work presents a framework and tool prototype that facilitates the early identification of potential system hazards from requirements and the reuse of previous experience for conducting HAZOP. The results from the preliminary evaluation of the tool suggest its potential viability for application in real industrial context. © 2011 IEEE. Source

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