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Collaborative Software Development Framework based on Trusted, Secure Cloud-based Pool of Users

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CloudTeams (Collaborative Software Development Framework based on Trusted, Secure Cloud-based Pool of Users)

Reporting period: 2016-03-01 to 2017-02-28

Costs for software development and deployment decrease due to availability of numerous open source projects and of highly efficient, low-cost cloud infrastructures. These trends in technology allow companies to entry the market with lower efforts, but also increase the competition in the software industry. Thus, fulfilling customers' requirements better than the competitors becomes more vital for the success. Many crowdsourcing, crowdfunding and collaborative development platforms attempt to enable startup companies and individual developers to share their “dream” and validate their idea with the community and build their software in collaboration. But even if there are tools for sharing product vision or code, there is no solution yet that puts customers’ requirements in focus and enables teams of developers to collaborate both internally and with their customers.

To meet these challenges six objectives have been set:
• Deliver a methodology engaging a large community of users in the software development process by creating validated, data-rich, secure cloud-based personal repositories, where software teams find trustful resources to develop their products and services.
• Develop business models with integrated trust frameworks that will facilitate the product lifecycle. The trusted software development framework will integrate privacy respectful components, testing frameworks, and an analytics engine that create a transparent environment and empower the software life cycle through the customers’ participation.
• Provide an integrated solution for collaboration in software design and development; under a unified, open source platform; with comprehensive support for building use cases, creating mockups, testing software, performing analytics and developing code. Interfaces to popular platforms that developers already use will be constructed and deployed.
• Develop an engagement model supporting a collaborative market for both end users and developers interested to exchange data, feedback and time, leading to better software solutions.
• Prove and optimize the CloudTeams concepts through a set of pilot applications from established ICT industries and software startups, also on a consortium level.
• Promote CloudTeams as a next-generation software engineering tool through intense dissemination, reaching out to international audiences within and beyond the EU.

The project successfully achieved all these objectives. It provides a methodology and a platform that support the whole software development lifecycle. The first supports a variety of development processes, defines interaction points, and drives the collaboration between customers and development teams, and also in the development teams themselves. The integrated and open source CloudTeams platform enables software teams to follow our methodology, to collaboratively develop their products and business models, to interact with customers and to better match their needs while respecting their data privacy and fundamental ethical principles.
WP1 analysed the landscape and concepts related to CloudTeams, and documented the business and technological progress of related domains. It defined how the social factor can transform the development steps for products and services. WP1 worked towards identifying how social interaction between end users and software teams can be performed while protecting personal data. WP1 delivered the concepts and usage scenarios that allow software teams to engage end users and embed this benefit into software development.

WP2 (a) defined an integrated methodology for user-driven, collaborative software development, (b) elicited the technical requirements for a respective platform, (c) developed an integrated architecture for it, (d) specified the APIs for platform components and third-party services, and (e) come up with a user interaction design. With that goal in mind, WP2 delivered user stories including security and privacy protection and it identified third-party services to be connected to the platform. These results were then compiled and refined in cycles to an overall system architecture.

In WP3 the software components of the CloudTeams platform ( were developed. The platform provides all the facilities to implement the CloudTeams methodology, starting with the ideation phase and ending with a product’s deployment. Customers can give feedback to developers’ projects in their interest. Developers get support for their team collaboration, project management, and interaction with customers. Gamification and rewarding mechanisms help to attract customers and maximise their engagement. Further, there are ideation tools that help developers to create personas for different market segments, and to develop requirements and business models.

Figure 1: CloudTeams platform

WP4 planed, managed and evaluated the pilot applications. It (a) defined an evaluation framework, (b) prepared and coordinated the pilots, (c) created guidelines for the pilot phase, (d) created and performed the scenarios to collect and evaluate feedback, and to demonstrate the innovations and business value proposition of CloudTeams, (e) worked toward an end user community supporting the pilots. The feedback collected in WP4 was used to continuously improve not only the platform but also the methodology. Diversification of the pilots with multiple business models was the core metric to evaluate the platform.

WP5 disseminated the project results, outlined an innovators’ engagement strategy, and developed a data management and exploitation plan. It realized the project website that is also the entry to the platform. The project was promoted in social media channels, participated in 10 events with an overall audience of more than 22,500 people, published 6 conference papers and 1 whitepaper, organized 2 open workshops, conducted 7 liaison activities, had contacts with 12 startup associations, produced dissemination material (9 videos, newsletters, press releases, factsheet and poster) in only two years. A data management plan reflects the collected research data and how this data is published openly. An exploitation plan outlines the business value proposition, exploitation strategy, marketing activities, and the financial plan.
The CloudTeams methodology and platform introduce novel and innovative engagement and interaction concepts for software developers and perspective customers. End user engagement and trust in cloud-based and collaborative technology is made possible by an anonymized and reliable pool of personas that developers can access to validate their ideas and verify their products. The platform is open source and integrates popular third-party services while respecting data privacy. The evaluation framework provides a customized workflow for performing individual tests while considering (a) the developers who are interested in efficient tools and in the added value for their existing processes, (b) the customers who want a better user experience and who need to be engaged in the whole process.
CloudTeams platform