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The Effect of Communication Overhead on Software Maintenance Project Staffing: a Search-Based Approach

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4 Author(s)
Di Penta, M. ; Univ. of Sannio, Benevento ; Harman, M. ; Antoniol, G. ; Qureshi, F.

Brooks' milestone 'Mythical Man Month' established the observation that there is no simple conversion between people and time in large scale software projects. Communication and training overheads yield a subtle and variable relationship between the person-months required for a project and the number of people needed to complete the task within a given timeframe. This paper formalises several instantiations of Brooks' law and uses these to construct project schedule and staffing instances - using a search-based project staffing and scheduling approach - on data from two large real world maintenance projects. The results reveal the impact of different formulations of Brooks' law on project completion time and on staff distribution across teams, and the influence of other factors such as the presence of dependencies between work packages on the effect of communication overhead.

Published in:

Software Maintenance, 2007. ICSM 2007. IEEE International Conference on

Date of Conference:

2-5 Oct. 2007