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Aligning Software Maintenance to the Offshore Reality

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2 Author(s)
Seybold, C. ; Zuhlke Eng. AG, Zurich ; Keller, R.K.

With an ever-increasing amount of software in place, the importance and ubiquity of software maintenance is continuously growing. Another more recent trend is to "offshore" such work to low-wage countries with still untapped engineering resources. However, software maintenance typically requires intensive customer contact, short iteration cycles, and fast response times which is counter to the communication delays, requirements misinterpretations and indirect responsibilities often found in offshore cooperations. This paper reports on a software maintenance project in the power plant engineering sector. From the outset, the project included, in line with corporate policy, heavy offshore involvement. This 'offshore reality' confronted the stakeholders with various problems, including lack of quality, slipped deadlines, and communication overhead. A number of measures were introduced to mitigate the problems. Finally, a project setup could be found satisfying both the characteristics of software maintenance projects and the peculiarities of offshore cooperations. In the paper, we describe and analyze the course of this project, and present a list of lessons learned and best practices for this uncommon, yet increasingly important project setup.

Published in:

Software Maintenance and Reengineering, 2008. CSMR 2008. 12th European Conference on

Date of Conference:

1-4 April 2008