Tuesday, November 20, 2007

[Pub] Central and East European Conference on Software Engineering Techniques

The 2nd IFIP Central and East European Conference on Software Engineering Techniques (CEE-SET 2007), was held in Poznan, Poland from 10 to 12 October 2007. The conference aims for exchanging ideas and experiences concerning software engineering techniques, and this year special topic was "balancing agility with discipline". As Barry Boehm and Richard Turner (2003) have noted that both agile methods and plan-driven (discipline) methods present values for successful software development in a changing world, however following question arise, “how much formalism is enough in order to keep a (complex) system responsive to changes?”.

Derived from needs and experiences from Siemens PSE, we presented two technical papers concerning balancing the agility with discipline in context of requirement tracing and coordination support in global software development:

Dindin Wahyudin, Matthias Heindl, Benedikt Eckhard, Alexander Schatten and Stefan Biffl, In-time role-specific notification as formal means to balance agile practices in global software development settings:
In global software development (GSD) projects, distributed teams collaborate to deliver high-quality software. Project managers need to control these development projects, which increasingly adopt agile practices. However, in a distributed project a major challenge is to keep all team members aware of recent changes of requirements and project status without providing too little or too much information for each role. In this paper we introduce a framework to define notification for development team members that allows a) measurement of notification effectiveness, efficiency, and cost; b) formalizing key communication in an agile environment; and c) providing method and tool support to implement communication support. We illustrate an example scenario from an industry background to explain the concept and report results from an initial empirical evaluation. Main results are that the concept allows determining and increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of key communication in a global software development project in a sufficiently formal way without compromising the use of agile practices. (Paper, Presentation)
Matthias Heindl and Stefan Biffl, A Framework to Balance Tracing Agility and Formalism:
Software customers want both sufficient product quality and agile response to requirements changes. Formal software requirements tracing helps to systematically determine the impact of changes and keep track of development artifacts that need to be re-tested when requirements change. However, full tracing of all requirements on the most detailed level can be very expensive and time consuming. In this paper we introduce an initial “tracing activity model”, a framework that allows measuring the expected cost and benefit of tracing approaches. We apply a subset of the activities in the model in a study to compare 3 tracing strategies, ranging from agile “just in time” tracing to fully formal tracing, in the context of re-testing in an industry project at a large financial service provider. In the study a) the model was found useful to capture costs and benefits of the tracing activities to compare the different strategies; b) a combination of upfront tracing on a coarse level of detail and focused just-in-time detailed tracing can help balancing tracing agility (for use in practice) in a formal tracing framework (for research and process improvement). Presentation

All accepted papers were included in the proceedings published as Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science. Beside presentations and discussions of technical papers, key note presentations focused on deriving the need for empirical evaluation of “state of the art” methods and tools such as agile development in different contexts. Dieter Rombach (head of Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Software Engineering) suggested that many researchers in SE have provided tools and methods that seem useful, however most of them were never or only partially evaluated with external validation such as industry implementation.

Bertrand Meyer, from ETH, Zürich, delivered the second key note with emphasis on software engineering principles related to agility during development process. In his talk, one interesting point was that, the skeptic toward model-driven development (MDD), as he noticed that current MDD approaches put a focus on developing more user-oriented models with lack of intention toward code and programming as part of the model. He insisted that code or programs can be considered as model of the real system, with a high degree of responsiveness to changes.

In conjugation with the conference, several sessions called as Software Engineering in Progress (SEP) were held on current issues in on-going research in field of software engineering, which in my opinion were very good for new researcher to promote their current achievements and to receive expert feedback in early stage of their works.

Overall, the conference was well organized, and attracted more than 60 participants and presenters from academic and industrial background. I discussed the overall quality of the conference with colleagues from Linz, Dresden, and Bozen, and we agreed that the content of the papers in general had in good quality and were technically sound; many of the presentations sparked lively discussions during the sessions.

Dindin Wahyudin (Edited by Alexander Schatten)

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