How to Avoid Drastic Software Process Change (using Stochastic Stability)

Keywords How to Avoid Drastic Software Process Change COCOMO II
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That is, using internal changes, the benefits of drastic change can be achieved without project disruption. For example, Figure 2 compares defect/KLOC predictions from SEESAW and the drastic changes of Figure 1. SEESAW’s
recommendations, comprising only internal changes, resulted in the smallest defect predictions (see line 1). The rest of this paper explains how Figure 2 was generated. After some preliminaries, we discuss the options available within the current structure of four sample projects. Figure 1’s drastic changes will then be implemented as operators on those projects. Next we describe SEESAW and the models it operates on: the COCOMO effort and time estimator [7, p29-57]; and the COQUALMO defect predictor [7, p254-268]. In the results that follow we show that, for our case studies, SEESAW’s search through the space of internal changes usually out-performs the drastic changes of Figure 1.

The contribution of this paper is a demonstration that managers have more options than they may realize. Stochastic stability is an insightful method for discovering useful project reconfigurations that improve a project while avoiding requiring drastic and disruptive project change.

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Before performing drastic changes to a project, it is
worthwhile to thoroughly explore the available options
within the current structure of a project. An alternative to
drastic change are internal changes that adjust current options
within a software project. In this paper, we show that
the effects of numerous internal changes can out-weigh the
effects of drastic changes. That is, the benefits of drastic
change can often be achieved without disrupting a project.
The key to our technique is SEESAW, a novel stochastic
stability tool that (a) considers a very large set of minor
changes using stochastic sampling; and (b) carefully selects
the right combination of effective minor changes.
Our results show, using SEESAW, project managers have
more project improvement options than they currently realize.
This result should be welcome news to managers struggling
to maintain control and continuity over their project
in the face of multiple demands for drastic change.

Jairus Hihn,Tim Menzies, Steve Williams
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