Three Problems Overcome with Behavioral Models of the Software Development Process


Software development processes are usually modeled by manifestations of the software artifact at given stages in its evolution and the nature of the transformations being applied to it during these stages. Thus, the software process is purported to begin with a stage called something like requirements development, or in some cases with the even the earlier step of a feasibility study. Such models vary the ordering of process stages (eg., prototyping vs. a traditional waterfall vs. incremental building and releasing). Yet, in all such models the software process is bounded by those activities that initiate and terminate the development of a specific software product. There are three mistakes that can be made if the software development process is analyzed only with models that focus on stages of transforming the artifact: 1) the progression of stages through which the artifact evolves gets confused with the organization of the processes through which people develop software, 2) project processes that do not directly transform the artifact are not analyzed for their productivity and quality implications, 3) the process is treated as discrete rather than continuous in time (i.e., each project invokes a separate process). These three problems can only be overcome by making a behavioral analysis of software development and the factors that control its productivity and quality. Such an analysis does not replace traditional models of software product evolution, rather they supplement them with much greater understanding of what controls project outcomes. For instance, Figure 1 presents the layered behnviorul model used by Curtis, Krasner. and Iscoe (1988) to analyze problems experienced in developing large software systems. The three problems described above result in analytic shortfalls at different levels of this model. Analytic focus e Cognition 81 Group Organizational Motivation Dynamics Behavior Figure 1. The layered behavioral model of software development processes (Curtis et al., 1988). Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the ACM copyri@t notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice IS given that copying is by permission of the Association for Computing Machinery. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires a fee and/or specific permission. Confusing project stages with development processes-Since most software engineering textbooks order their chapters to progress through stages of the traditional waterfall model, development is usually depicted as a sequential, …

DOI: 10.1145/74587.74643


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@inproceedings{Curtis1989ThreePO, title={Three Problems Overcome with Behavioral Models of the Software Development Process}, author={Bill Curtis}, booktitle={ICSE}, year={1989} }