Key Elements of Software Product Integration Processes
Abstract: The product integration is a particularly critical phase of the software product development process as many problems originating from earlier phases become visible in this phase. Problems in product integration result in delays and rework. One of the measures to decrease the late discovery of problems is the use of development standards and guidelines that define practices to ensure correctness of the product integration. However, even if such standards and reference models exist, they are in not used consistently. One of the reasons is a lack of a proof that they indeed improve the integration process, and even more important, that they are sufficient for performing efficient and correct product integration.The conclusion of the presented research is that the available descriptions in standards and reference models taken one by one are insufficient and must be consolidated to help development organizations improve the product integration process. The research has resulted in a proposed combination of the activities included in the different reference models. This combination has been based on a number of case studies. Through the case studies performed in seven different product development organizations, a relationship between problems that are observed and the failure to follow the recommendations in reference models is identified. The analysis has indicated which practices are necessary, and how other practices support these. The goal with the research is to provide product development organizations with guidelines for how to perform software product integration.One additional finding of the research is the existence of relation between software architecture and the development process. A method for identifying dependencies between evolvement of software architectures and adaptation of integration practices has been demonstrated.
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