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Success and failure factors in software reuse

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3 Author(s)
M. Morisio ; Dipt. Autom. e Inf., Torino Univ., Italy ; M. Ezran ; C. Tully

This paper aims at identifying some of the key factors in adopting or running a company-wide software reuse program. Key factors are derived from empirical evidence of reuse practices, as emerged from a survey of projects for the introduction of reuse in European companies: 24 such projects performed from 1994 to 1997 were analyzed using structured interviews. The projects were undertaken in both large and small companies, working in a variety of business domains, and using both object-oriented and procedural development approaches. Most of them produce software with high commonality between applications, and have at least reasonably mature processes. Despite that apparent potential for success, around one-third of the projects failed. Three main causes of failure were not introducing reuse-specific processes, not modifying nonreuse processes, and not considering human factors. The root cause was a lack of commitment by top management, or nonawareness of the importance of those factors, often coupled with the belief that using the object-oriented approach or setting up a repository seamlessly is all that is necessary to achieve success in reuse. Conversely, successes were achieved when, given a potential for reuse because of commonality among applications, management committed to introducing reuse processes, modifying nonreuse processes, and addressing human factors

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering  (Volume:28 ,  Issue: 4 )