The general directions of ELIOP as a solution provider for industrial control systems is to gain competitiveness in the market and continuously improve the quality to its products, systems and services in order to achieve the satisfaction of our customers. Software is a very important part of the value added to our products, and currently more than a half of the ELIOP software workforce is devoted to maintenance, including both corrective actions and improvements made over the existing software.
AMIGO addresses the improvement of the software maintenance process at ELIOP. Its objective is to improve the organisation of the Software Maintenance process in a systematic way in order to:
- Improve its effectiveness
- Track the problems and corrective actions efficiently and according to quality standards
- Introduce some defect prevention activities
- Provide related quality metrics
- Increase the level of satisfaction of the involved people.
This project aims to extract interesting results for the wider community, because it addresses problems that are very common to all software producing organisations, and it follows a practical, evolutionary, low-risk approach, based on the use of economic and mature tools in order to achieve a high potential for replication, specifically for small and medium enterprises with an intermediate level of maturity in software engineering.
The actions intended to achieve the objectives of AMIGO affect the following three key aspects:
- Organisational and people issues: Revision of organisational issues related to the software maintenance process. Introduction of organisational and project management improvements. Careful consideration to people issues. Education and Training.
- Process issues: Detailed analysis of the actual SW maintenance process. Definition of an improved process adapted to our organisation and PIE objectives. Experimentation of these improvements in the ongoing Software Maintenance activities.
- Technology issues: Selection, acquisition and installation of tools to support the project.
The experiment is conducted on two different baseline projects:
- A SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) software developed for DEC-VAX computers.
- The software embedded in one family of microprocessor based equipment manufactured by ELIOP (Remote Terminal Units).
About 30 people are currently involved in software engineering, and will be involved in the experiment, in a direct or indirect way.
EXPECTED IMPACT AND EXPERIENCE
The project aims to have a very direct impact on software costs and quality attributes, and, consequently, will be very relevant to improve the competitive position of ELIOP in the market. Specifically, we expect to lower the development time for the new releases of a software product, and give to the customers a faster response to the reported problems. Initially, we expect no change in the time devoted to maintenance. Higher efficiency will be reflected in the quality attributes of the software. In the mid and long term, better software maintainability and quality should produce considerable savings in the time devoted to maintenance. Also, collected metrics data should help us to refine the effort estimations and plan for further refinements.