Tailoring Software Development Methodologies in Practice: A Case Study

Sergio de Cesare, Chaitali Patel, Nicola Iacovelli, Antonio Merico, Mark Lycett


Software development methodologies (SDM) have been traditionally defined in a prescriptive manner with an underlying assumption of universal applicability. However, as industrial practice suggests, this assumption is fundamentally flawed. Software development projects very rarely adopt a methodology in such a rigid fashion. Conversely methodologies are normally adapted to meet specific contextual characteristics. This adaptation, known as Method Tailoring (MT), generally occurs implicitly. Implicit adaptation has several drawbacks. Firstly, responsibility and consequences are not attributable to the decisions made during MT. Secondly, MT experience is not captured, thus not being shared and reused within the organization. As a consequence, implicit MT leads to reactive rather than proactive adaptation with negative effects on both productivity and efficient use of resources. In order to alleviate the problems described above, this paper proposes a framework aimed at assisting software development teams and organizations in the elicitation of their Method Tailoring processes. As a result the know-how and experience accumulated during the practice of Method Tailoring is made explicit and organized for the benefit of future projects. The framework has been applied a posteriori to a project carried out by a medium-sized software development company for the Italian national public health service.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.2498/cit.1000898

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