Very many small software companies, often having started as a one man enterprise, reach a stage were version/configuration management and error tracking/reporting systems becomes a must. This because more people are getting involved in the software development, the firm gets more (and more heterogeneous) customers, and the applications themselves no longer require less major changes, but routinized error fixing and minor functionality adjustments.
Very often one finds profit margins eroded by unforeseen troubles by lack of version / configuration control, no system for keeping track of errors reported/fixed/tested etc.
ICONMAN aims to implement lightweight configuration management procedures for very small enterprises that cannot use the same approaches as larger companies. The procedures will be based on the current software engineering practice of the partners in order to be as simple an unobtrusive as possible. The use of configuration management will also address documentation and error reporting.
There are three very small firms (5- 10 persons) involved all of them having a basic product that is delivered in customised versions for different purposes and to different customers. An important element in the experiment is to exchange experiences with different configuration management tools and routines used. The project will define and test a set of software metrics in order to get quantitative information of the impact of the new configuration and error-reporting regime.
EXPECTED IMPACT AND EXPERIENCE
After the experiment the three companies will have implemented procedures for revision and configuration management, that includes testing of new configurations/versions of the base product, including both source code and documentation. In addition there will be procedures to handle all communication with the customers that relates to product development, which includes error reports, requests and suggestions for changes.