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Experience management refers to the capture, structuring, analysis, synthesis, and reuse of an organization's experience in the form of documents, plans, templates, processes, data, etc. The problem of managing experience effectively is not unique to software development, but the field of software engineering has had a high-level approach to this problem for some time. The Experience Factory is an organizational infrastructure whose goal is to produce, store, and reuse experiences gained in a software development organization. This paper describes The Q-Labs Experience Management System (Q-Labs EMS), which is based on the Experience Factory concept and was developed for use in a multinational software engineering consultancy. A critical aspect of the Q-Labs EMS project is its emphasis on empirical evaluation as a major driver of its development and evolution. The initial prototype requirements were grounded in the organizational needs and vision of Q-Labs, as were the goals and evaluation criteria later used to evaluate the prototype. However, the Q-Labs EMS architecture, data model, and user interface were designed to evolve, based on evolving user needs. This paper describes this approach, including the evaluation that was conducted of the initial prototype and its implications for the further development of systems to support software experience management.
Date of Publication: Sept. 2003