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Management of a Flexible and Distributed Software Production


We believe industries developing software for embedded products to be characterised by medium scale volume products, where a few big customers have specific demands, and many small customers needs standardised solutions. When companies grows and becomes international to reach scale volume advantages, the administration of company wide development becomes complex in details, affecting the quality of the products. In order to respond to a highly competitive market, high quality has to be combined with low cost and fast customer response (new functions and error correction).

This experiment deals with the problem to define a flexible and distributed software production process. Change management is a fundamental activity in software engineering, vital to both efficiency and quality thus it will be the focus of this experiment. The scope of the experiment is to define a process that controls and automates (where appropriate) the administration of the software development result, in order to assure high quality, in spite of more complicated and flexible products and where the development is made in a distributed environment.

The experiment defines a combined configuration management (CM) & change control process that administrates distributed development of a variety of products using the same software base. A level of automation is proposed, based on available tools on the market. Experiences from the consequences of introducing the new CM process and the system progress/problem control (SPR) process to an existing development model and in working practice are analysed. A base for a software metrics program is described, and metrics are collected to evaluate the maturity change of software engineering for the underlying baseline project. Positive as well as negative experience from the experiment are described together with suggestions for further improvements.

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