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Virtual software engineering laboratories in support of trade-off analyses

: Münch, J.; Pfahl, D.; Rus, I.


Software quality journal 13 (2005), No.4, pp.407-428 : Ill., Lit.
ISSN: 0963-9314
ISSN: 1573-1367
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IESE ()
decision support; software process modeling; software process simulation; trade-off analysis

Due to demanding customer needs and evolving technology, software organizations are forced to trade individual functional and non-functional product quality profiles against other factors such as cost, time, or productivity. The ability to influence or even control these factors requires a deep understanding of the complex relations between process and product attributes in relevant contexts. Based on such understanding, decision support is needed to adjust processes so that they match the product quality goals without violating given project constraints. We propose to use a Virtual Software Engineering Laboratory (VSEL) to establish such decision support cost-effectively. VSELs can be considered as being complementary to existing (empirical) Software Engineering Laboratories. This paper gives an introduction into the cornerstones of VSELs, discusses how they complement traditional empirically based Software Engineering Laboratories (SELs), and illustrates with the help of case examples from industrial and research environments, how to use them in support of product-focused trade-off analyses.