Blog entry by AMELIA SAHIRA RAHMA 5116201024

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Concurrent Models

The concurrent development model, sometimes called concurrent engineering, allows a software team to represent iterative and concurrent elements of any of the process models described in this chapter. For example, the modeling activity defined for the spiral model is accomplished by invoking one or more of the following software engineering actions: prototyping, analysis, and design.

 

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 Figure 1

 

Figure 1 provides a schematic representation of one software engineering activity within the modeling activity using a concurrent modeling approach. The activity modeling may be in any one of the states12 noted at any given time. Similarly, other activities, actions, or tasks (e.g., communication or construction) can be represented in an analogous manner. All software engineering activities exist concurrently but reside in different states.

For example, early in a project the communication activity (not shown in the figure) has completed its first iteration and exists in the awaiting changes state. The modeling activity (which existed in the inactive state while initial communication was completed, now makes a transition into the under development state. If, however, the customer indicates that changes in requirements must be made, the modeling activity moves from the under development state into the awaiting changes state.

Concurrent modeling is applicable to all types of software development and provides an accurate picture of the current state of a project. Rather than confining software engineering activities, actions, and tasks to a sequence of events, it defines a process network. Each activity, action, or task on the network exists simultaneously with other activities, actions, or tasks. Events generated at one point in the process network trigger transitions among the states.


A Final Word on Evolutionary Processes

I have already noted that modern computer software is characterized by continual change, by very tight time lines, and by an emphatic need for customer user satisfaction. In many cases, time-to-market is the most important management requirement. If a market window is missed, the software project itself may be meaningless. Evolutionary process models were conceived to address these issues, and yet, as a general class of process models, they too have weaknesses. These are summarized by Nogueira and his colleagues [Nog00] :

Despite the unquestionable benefits of evolutionary software processes, we have some concerns. The first concern is that prototyping [and other more sophisticated evolutionary processes] poses a problem to project planning because of the uncertain number of cycles required to construct the product. Most project management and estimation techniques are based on linear layouts of activities, so they do not fit completely.

Second, evolutionary software processes do not establish the maximum speed of the evolution. If the evolutions occur too fast, without a period of relaxation, it is certain that the process will fall into chaos. On the other hand if the speed is too slow then productivity could be affected.

Third, software processes should be focused on flexibility and extensibility rather than on high quality. This assertion sounds scary. However, we should prioritize the speed of the development over zero defects. Extending the development in order to reach high quality could result in a late delivery of the product, when the opportunity niche has disappeared.

This paradigm shift is imposed by the competition on the edge of chaos. Indeed, a software process that focuses on flexibility, extensibility, and speed of development over high quality does sound scary. And yet, this idea has been proposed by a number of well respected software engineering experts (e.g., [You95], [Bac97]). The intent of evolutionary models is to develop high-quality software14 in an iterative or incremental manner.

However, it is possible to use an evolutionary process to emphasize flexibility, extensibility, and speed of development. The challenge for software teams and their managers is to establish a proper balance between these critical project and product parameters and customer satisfaction (the ultimate arbiter of software quality).

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