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Volume 8 / Issue 6

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DOI:   10.3217/jucs-008-06-0570


What to Expect from Software Experience Exploitation

Kurt Schneider (DaimlerChrysler AG, Research Center Ulm, Germany)


Software quality management and quality assurance are disciplines that require substantial knowledge of the methods and techniques to be applied. More important than a solid knowledge of methodology, however, is the ability to judge feasibility of approaches, and to tailor activities to the business unit culture and constraints. Software quality activities must be carefully integrated into an existing company or business culture. Making informed decisions requires more than knowledge - it calls for experience of what works and what does not work in a given environment. Experienced quality agents are a scarce resource. Exploiting a scarce resource - like experiences in software quality - more effectively is a straight-forward concept.

Five years ago, DaimlerChrysler set up a large research project with business units, called SEC (Software Experience Center). Its purpose was to explore opportunities for learning from experiences within and across different business units. Unlike more general approaches of knowledge management, SEC was entirely devoted to software processes: software development, software acquisition, and in particular software quality in both development and acquisition settings.

However, not all expectations that are often related to experience exploitation are realistic. In SEC, some of our initial expectations were met, others were not. This talk reports and reflects on our attempts to capture, engineer, and reuse experiences in the realm of software quality and software process improvement.

Keywords: process improvement, systematic learning from experience

Categories: H.3, K.6.3