Outsourcing magnifies many of the risks inherent in large scale software development. In our view the central problem of outsourcing and other forms of distributed development is that of project management and project control. Distributed development exacerbates the gap between the clients’ needs as expressed in the requirements, and the software product developed to meet those needs. Because of its intangible, dynamic nature, there currently exists no effective automated method of bi-directional mapping from requirements, or even functional specifications to working software, especially as the system evolves and grows over time. Software Engineering standards such as CMMI allow development teams to demonstrate adherence to standards and repeatable processes, but do not necessarily guarantee that an acceptable product will drop off the end of the production line. We believe that the injection of an independent reviewing process, equipped with appropriate tools, into the project will stimulate a culture change at the very least, and perhaps revolutionize outsourced software development, by placing more timely information in the hands of the outsourcing organization, thus allowing them to better manage their project risk while at the same time establishing clear accountability policies and reporting guidelines for the service providers. This paper describes an infrastructure that we have developed to support continuous reporting on evolving software, and sketches a case study, demonstrating its application in an outsourcing context.
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- Evidence-Based Management of Outsourced Software Projects
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