Martínez-Fernández, Silverio; Ayala, C.P.; Franch, X.; Martins , H.; Ameller, D. Journal of Software Engineering Research and Development Vol. 2, num. 7, p. 1-27 DOI: 10.1186/s40411-014-0007-5 Date of publication: 2014-08-21 Journal article
Background: Software reference architectures are becoming widely adopted by organizations that need to support the design and maintenance of software applications of a shared domain. For organizations that plan to adopt this architecture-centric approach, it becomes fundamental to know the return on investment and to understand how software reference architectures are designed, maintained, and used. Unfortunately, there is little evidence-based support to help organizations with these challenges.
Methods: We have conducted action research in an industry-academia collaboration between the GESSI research group and everis, a multinational IT consulting firm based in Spain.
Results: The results from such collaboration are being packaged in order to create guidelines that could be used in similar contexts as the one of everis. The main result of this paper is the construction of empirically-grounded guidelines that support organizations to decide on the adoption of software reference architectures and to gather evidence to improve RA-related practices.
Conclusions: The created guidelines could be used by other organizations outside of our industry-academia collaboration. With this goal in mind, we describe the guidelines in detail for their use.
Martínez-Fernández, Silverio; Martins , H. International Workshop on Conducting Empirical Studies in Industry p. 15-20 DOI: 10.1145/2593690.2593696 Presentation's date: 2014-06-02 Presentation of work at congresses
More and more, software engineering researchers are motivated to solve real problems that bring value to industry. An example is the industry-academia collaboration described in this paper among everis, an IT consulting firm, and the GESSI research group at UPC. The goal of this paper is twofold: to evaluate the success of the collaboration, and to report the experience with conducting empirical studies in the industry and lessons learnt. We evaluated our collaboration with an existing model for technology transfer, and performed a focus group discussion to identify challenges we have faced. After initialization and alignment of the collaboration, a high maturity level has been achieved: we have obtained the first results in form of proposed solutions, scientific publications, and pilots run in real projects. In spite of this positive progress, further initiatives need to be undertaken in the last phases of the collaboration to achieve high degrees of maturity in deployment impact, industry benefit and innovativeness. Evaluating the collaboration has been positive, since we identified the next steps to be taken to achieve a high degree of technology transfer and innovation dissemination. We think it is a needed step in industry-academia collaborations in order to improve their success.
Martínez-Fernández, Silverio; Ayala, C.P.; Franch, X.; Martins , H. International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering p. 42:1-42:10 DOI: 10.1145/2601248.2601282 Presentation's date: 2014-05-14 Presentation of work at congresses
Context: Software reference architectures (SRA) have emerged as an approach to systematically reuse architectural knowledge and software elements in the development of software systems. Over the last years, research has been conducted to uncover the artifacts that SRAs provide in order to build software systems. However, empirical studies have not focused on providing industrial evidence about such artifacts. Aim: This paper investigates which artifacts constitute an SRA, how SRAs are designed, the potential reuse of SRA's artifacts, and how they are used in practice. Method: The study consists of a case study made in collaboration with a multinational consulting company that designs SRAs for diverse client organizations. A total of nine European client organizations that use an SRA participated in the study. We analyzed available documentation and contacted 28 practitioners. Results: In the nine analyzed projects, we observed that the artifacts that constitute an SRA are mainly software elements, guidelines and documentation. The design and implementation of SRAs are influenced by the reuse of artifacts from previous software system development and experiences, and the reuse of an SRA across different business domains may be possible when they are platform-oriented. Regarding SRAs usage, we observed that conformance checking is seldom performed. Conclusions: This study reports artifacts of SRAs as stated by practitioners in order to help software architects and scientists in the inception, design, and application of SRAs.
A Software Reference Architecture (SRA) allows organizations to reuse architectural knowledge and software components in a systematic way and, therefore, to reduce costs. SRAs mainly appear in organizations in which the multiplicity of software systems (i.e., software systems developed at multiple locations, by multiple vendors and across multiple organizations) triggers a need for life-cycle support for all systems. Thus, SRAs are very attractive when organizations become large and distributed in order to develop new systems or new versions of systems. In return, organizations face the need to analyze the return-on-investment (ROI) in adopting SRAs, and to review these SRAs in order to ensure their quality and incremental improvement.
The goal of this research is to envisage an empirically-grounded framework that supports organizations to decide on the adoption of SRAs and its subsequent design and suitability for the organization purposes. It helps organizations to harvest and arrange relevant evidence from the wide spectrum of involved stakeholders and available information and documentation in SRA projects. Such a framework is being shaped through an action-research approach between our research group and everis, an IT consulting firm.
Martínez-Fernández, Silverio; Ayala, C.P.; Franch, X.; Martins , H. European Congress on Software Architecture p. 307-310 DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-39031-9_26 Presentation's date: 2013-07-04 Presentation of work at congresses
Reference architectures (RA) have been studied to create a consistent notion of what constitutes them as well as their benefits and drawbacks. How-ever, few empirical studies have been conducted to provide evidence that sup-port the claims made. To increase this evidence, this paper investigates the ac-tual industrial practice of using RAs. The study consists of a survey with 28 stakeholders from everis, a multinational consulting company based in Spain. We report the findings and contextualize them with previous research.
Martínez-Fernández, Silverio; Franch, X.; Bisbal, J. International Workshop on Academic Software Development Tools and Techniques p. 1-18 Presentation's date: 2013-07-01 Presentation of work at congresses
Due to the success of service technology, there are lots of services nowadays that make predictions about the future in domains such as weather forecast, stock market and bookmakers. The value delivered by these predictive services relies on the quality of their predictions. This paper presents Mercury, a tool that measures predictive service quality in the domain of weather forecast,
and automates the context-dependent selection of the most accurate predictive service to satisfy a customer query. To do so, candidate predictive services are monitored so that their predictions can be eventually compared with real observations obtained from some trusted source. Mercury is a proof-of-concept to show that the selection of predictive services can be driven by
the quality of their predictions. Its service-oriented architecture (SOA) aims to support the easy adaptation to other prediction domains and makes feasible its integration in self-adaptive SOA systems, as well as its direct use by end-users as a classical web application. Thoughout the paper, we show how Mercury was built.
Martínez-Fernández, Silverio; Ayala, C.P.; Franch, X.; Martins , H.; Ameller, D. Experimental Software Engineering Latin American Workshop p. 89-102 Presentation's date: 2013-04-11 Presentation of work at congresses
Tight time-to-market needs pushes software companies and IT consulting firms to continuously look for techniques to improve their IT services in general, and the design of software architectures in particular. The use of soft-ware reference architectures allows IT consulting firms reusing architectural knowledge and components in a systematic way. In return, IT consulting firms face the need to analyze the return on investment in software reference architectures for organizations, and to review these reference architectures in order to ensure their quality and incremental improvement. Little support exists to help IT consulting firms to face these challenges. In this paper we present an empirical framework aimed to support the analysis and review of software reference architectures and their use in IT projects by harvesting relevant evidence from the wide spectrum of involved stakeholders.
Martínez-Fernández, Silverio; Ayala, C.P.; Franch, X.; Martins , H. International Conference on Software Reuse p. 97-112 DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-38977-1_7 Presentation's date: 2013 Presentation of work at congresses
To remain competitive, organizations are challenged to make informed and feasible value-driven design decisions in order to ensure the quality of their software systems. However, there is a lack of support for evaluating the economic impact of these decisions with regard to software reference architectures. This damages the communication among architects and management, which can result in poor decisions. This paper aims at ameliorating this problem by presenting a pragmatic preliminary economic model to perform cost-benefit analysis on the adoption of software reference architectures as a key asset for optimizing architectural decision-making. The model is based on existing value-based metrics and economics-driven models used in other areas. A preliminary validation based on a retrospective study showed the ability of the model to support a cost-benefit analysis presented to the management of an IT consulting company. This validation involved a cost-benefit analysis related to reuse and maintenance; other qualities will be integrated as our research progresses.
Martínez-Fernández, Silverio; Bisbal, J.; Franch, X. International Conference on Knowledge Management in Organizations p. 525-536 DOI: 10.1007/978-3-642-30867-3_47 Presentation's date: 2012 Presentation of work at congresses