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Concurrent, Overlapping Development and the Dynamic System Analysis of a Software Project

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1 Author(s)
Ghosh, J. ; Inf. Syst. & Oper. Manage. Dept., George Mason Univ., Fairfax, VA, USA

In recent years concurrent, overlapping development activities of engineering tasks have proved to be a cost-effective and time-efficient way to build products geared toward meeting the demands of a competitive and quality-conscious market. In this study, we examine the structure and dynamics of a software project in information technology industrial research and development that has this methodology as its foundation. We first describe a number of software engineering aspects of the project that elucidate how various development activities in its concurrently unfolding component projects are overlapped and integrated to gradually build the product over time. Using the mathematical tools of dynamic systems analysis, we next derive a number of results that characterize the long-term, stable behavior of the project. These results are then used in a numerical simulation to illustrate a procedure by which relevant resources can be distributed across the components in a way that maintains continued stability of the project over time. Our modeling approach is flexible enough to allow the theoretical results and the simulation techniques to be easily generalized to study, in real time, the stability, maintenance, and management of similar concurrent projects. The usefulness of the method lies in motivating and refining managerial decisions that drive overlapping development activities of such projects.

Published in:

Engineering Management, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:57 ,  Issue: 2 )