Management Deployment & Practice Experiment
Intecs Sistemi, Pisa
The overall objective of the experiment is to improve
the practice of Configuration Management, by the adoption of state of art
Configuration Management practices, based on a sound and ready available
From the point of view of achieving specific measurable
objectives, the target is to enhance the Intecs SPICE CM practices profile,
from the current Level 1 (performed practices, informal process) "Partially
Performed" mark to a "Fully Performed" Level 2 (managed process) mark and
at least a Level 3 (defined and standardized process) "Partially Performed"
We expect that the establishment of mature CM practices
bring, per se, important benefits to the effectiveness and predictability
of the overall Intecs Sistemi Software Life Cycle Process and to the quality
and maintainability of its products. Furthermore, the experience gained
from the PIE is expected to enhance the company know how and image, in
terms of competence and user satisfaction, so far contributing to strengthen
the Intecs Sistemi offer of Software Engineering consultancy and services.
On the other hand,
though Intecs Sistemi have achieved an overall Software Process maturity
rating BOOTSTRAP Level 3.1 (defined and enforced practices) confirmed by
a SPICE Assessment , actual
deployment of Configuration Management (CM) practices scores far below
that mark for projects not strictly regulated by
space or defense standards.
A thorough investigation
for alternatives to PCTE has identified ClearCase as a sound enabling technology
for advanced Configuration Management Practices. Besides being a world
class selling tool, ClearCase features capture most of the basic concepts
of PCTE (attributes, links, schemes) without loosing full compatibility
with Unix and binary Unix tools.
The experiment is an
important step from plain Unix directories to more advanced SE Repositories
oriented solutions. Integration and consistency of CM practices within
Intecs Software process and product model are a primary concern.
Intecs Sistemi staff
with the involvement, as consultants, of experienced SPICE (ISO IEC 15504)
assessors (QUALITAL) mostly does the experiment. The Intecs Sistemi persons
involved in the PIE are:
Configuration and Version management are the keystone
of Application Management (AM) for software artifacts that have to exist
in the different temporal versions and for different environment configurations;
AM has to keep track of many types of product components (code files, documentation,
test procedures, SPRs, etc.) and of complex relationships (dependency,
composition traceability etc.) among them. A further goal is to provide
support for distributed development: Intecs Sistemi has premises in Pisa,
Napoli, Roma, Piombino and Toulouse (F) and software projects may involve
co-operation among teams from different sites.
Intecs have obtained ISO 9001 certification, and their
software process maturity has been assessed according to the SPICE (ISO
IEC 15504) and BOOTSTRAP models. These process assessment exercises have
pointed out Intecs current CM practices as the weakest aspect of the Application
Management process. From a qualitative point of view, an apparently disjoined
overall picture has emerged:
The CMEXP PIE aims to combine Intecs experience and state-of-art
technology and techniques to overcome most of the problems and deficiencies
of current CM practices. In particular, we expect to achieve a fully operational
demonstrator of advanced CM facility suitable to be large scale deployed
as standard support for Intecs software development activities, as well
as fully defined and validated CM process, procedures and guidelines, ready
to be integrated into the company ISO 9000 conforming Quality System.
UmlNICE is an integrated toolset providing support for
the Unified Modeling Language (UML) . It is based on state of art technology
(CORBA, Java, UML) and is planned to be available in various product configurations
on a number of platforms - potentially on all platforms providing support
for Java and CORBA. UmlNICE is composed of a large number of components,
tightly integrated among them. It can be regarded as an open framework
for CASE. In addition to traditional requirements for corrective maintenance,
UmlNICE is designed to support continuo product evolution for extensions,
tailoring, and tracking of market demand, evolution of the method and enabling
The UmlNICE project follows an "iterative and incremental"
development process inspired at the Unified Software Development Process,
the process that has been defined to become the standard process to use
UML by the authors of . The project is presently in its 9th intermediate,
though self-contained, iteration, which is expected to complete by June
1999 and deliver the first commercial release.
The UmlNICE project was started at the end of 1996 and
is expected to complete in the first half of year 2000; the project currently
involves a team of ten persons and is planned to remain constant up to
The technology introduced by the experiment are the ClearCase
configuration management system  and the ClearDDTS change request management
ClearCase is a world class selling tool, giving support
for version control, workspace management, build management and process
control. Integrated with ClearDDTS for the change control management, it
provides a wide configuration management solution.
The ClearCase approach to the multi-version file extends
the Unix and the Windows NT file system to make it a real multi-version
project repository, in a transparent way. It makes it easy for an organization
to deploy ClearCase, without forcing changes in the existing environment,
tools, or the way of work.
Based on an intuitive web-based interface, ClearDDTS allows
to track and manage both defect records and enhancement requests, can be
integrated with the configuration management system and is flexible enough
to be adapted to different organization needs. Particular attention has
been paid to the modeling of CM processes, products, and roles and to the
definition of procedure and guidelines to ensure that their implementation
can take advantage by the advanced features of ClearCase.
Beside the configuration management support process, the
main processes effected have been the software development, integration
and testing and the whole system integration testing and maintenance, with
a slight change of the configuration management, project management and
The project has started in June 1998, for the duration
of 18 months. At present it is in the execution phase.
In the experiment preparation the ClearCase Configuration
Management System and the ClearDDTS Defect Tracking System have been acquired
and installed at Intecs and an advanced course has taken place at Intecs
premises in Pisa. The purpose of the course was to train the CMEXP project
team, including people from the Baseline Project UmlNICE, for the use and
administration of selected technologies.
In the meanwhile the current Intecs CM Practices have
been assessed with the involvement SPICE assessor consultants, by setting
the Initial CM Profile as a baseline reference for the measurement of the
CM process improvement.
The key findings of the initial SPICE assessment have
confirmed that the CM process was not completely performed at Intecs, therefore
an improvement action was needed first in the activities concerning base
practices, such as:
Taking as input the results of the assessment and the
current Intecs CM practices, a generic model of the CM procedures and product
entities has been defined, to drive and support the correct execution of
The activities for the experiment execution have started
with the analysis of the Baseline Project UmlNICE and the tailoring of
the Configuration Management System and the Generic Definitions to the
baseline project specificity, by instantiating specific CM process products,
procedures and guidelines.
Being composed of a large number of components tightly
integrated among them, the UmlNICE project follows an iterative and incremental
development process, where sometime different development activities run
in parallel and the software components evolve through different versions,
integrated at different project milestones.
ClearCase allows maintaining a unique repository where
to collect all the software versions and releases and developing parallel
versions that can be easily integrated by merge facilities; on the other
hand the CM procedures become more complicated and are more demanding for
the configuration manager.
As a preliminary for the exercising of CM practices within
the baseline project, the specific CM guidelines and procedures have been
tested by carrying out typical development and maintenance activities,
in parallel to the main baseline project activities.
After the period of parallel running, the database has
been reloaded with the latest UmlNICE code and the baseline project team
has started the CM practices. The PIE team is currently providing guidance
and support to the baseline project team and monitoring the project activities.
At the completion of the experiment feedback and lesson
learned will be collected and processed and a final SPICE assessment will
quantify the process improvements achieved.
Two internal dissemination events have been organized
at Intecs, with the participation of the PIE and the Baseline UmlNICE projects
and other internal software practitioners and managers:
The QUALITAL Consortium is a non profit institution based
in Pisa particularly active in the domain of quality and Quality Systems
Certification that participate in the SPICE initiative.
The training of the CMEXP project team for the use of
the selected CMS and the training of one CMS Administrator for the installation
of the software configuration and for related user support activities has
been taught "in house" at Intecs by an ARTIS consultant; ARTIS were the
ClearCase distributors for Italy.
Quantitative measurement of the achievement of the PIE
objectives encompasses comparing the results of the initial SPICE assessment
of CM practices with a final assessment planned to take place at the end
of the project. The SPICE assessment results in detailed profiles of practices
and allows capturing improvement in contents, extents and maturity level
of CM practice.
The extent of the improvements, including the quality
of the product and the predictability of the maintenance process, can not
be quantified yet. They will become more evident when the developed product
will be commercially delivered.
We expect to transfer the PIE experience to other company
development projects in the same or other application domains, therefore
resulting in an overall enhancement of the Intecs Sistemi software process.
We intend to institutionalize the CM practice as part
of the company Quality System.
The drawbacks are that the costs of purchase, training,
installation and administration are high. In particular a project should
buy a license for each developer, each license costing about 4000 ECUís.
Another weak point is that ClearCase is not yet available
for some of the new development platforms in use within the company, such
as PCs running with Windows or Solaris x86.
To cope with such problems, Intecs Sistemi have investigated
other available commercial tools and have short-listed Visual Source Safe
and PVCS, as suitable to be used as complementary configuration management
systems. Visual Source Safe version 6.0 emerged as the
preferred option for small projects based on Microsoft Technologies.
The managers tend to underestimate the CM. Dissemination
actions are helpful to make all the company managers and project responsible
aware of the add-on and improvements that the introduction of an advanced
CM technology and a more formalized process can provide.
Moreover the participation of managers is necessary to
reduce the initial negative feeling, easily coming out starting with a
new sophisticated CM tool and motivates the team to change the work environment
and accept a more formal process.
A weakness of the experiment is that the selected CM technology
is quite sophisticated, but also expensive. It may result that many projects,
having a moderate degree of complexity and a small development team, adopt
cheaper solutions, such as Visual Source Safe or PVCS.
However, CASE product development and maintenance, which
is the scope of the baseline project, is among the most demanding
class of activities with respect to CM; experiences and achievements can
easily be transferred to other fields. In particular, a successful demonstration
allows transferring the results of CMEXP to most of Intecs Sistemi software
development projects in a number of other application domains.
Achievement of the objectives of the experiment might
therefore result in an overall enhancement of reliability and efficiency
of the Intecs Sistemi software process, of the company know how and of
its image (competence and user satisfaction). All these aspects are important
factors affecting the competitiveness of the company.
 Boehm B. W., Software Engineering, IEEE Transactions
on Computing, Vol. 2, pp. 1226-1242, 1976.
 Boehm B. W., A Spiral Model of Software Development
and Enhancement, IEEE Computer, Vol. 21, N.5, pp. 61-72, 1988.
 IEEE 1042, IEEE Guide to Software Configuration Management
Plans (ANSI), The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, USA,
 ISO/IEC 15504, SPICE Ė Software Process Assessment,
ISO/IEC Copyright Office, Switzerland, 1998
 Rumbaugh J., Jacobson I., Booch G., The Unified Modeling
Language Reference Manual, Addison-Wesley, USA, 1999.
 Rumbaugh J., Jacobson I., Booch G., The Unified Software
Development Process, Addison-Wesley, USA, 1999.
 Rational Software Corporation, ClearCase Reference
Manual, Version 3.2, USA, 1998 .
 Rational Software Corporation, ClearDDTS Userís Guide,
Version 4.1, USA, 1998
INTECS Sistemi is a Software-House providing leading-edge
technological support to major European organisations in the design and
implementation of complex electronic systems. It operates at the forefront
of the software market, where innovation, complexity and quality aspects
are essential to determine the company success.
During almost 25 years of activities, INTECS Sistemi has
achieved extensive experience in the production of software systems as
well as software engineering and quality. Such experience has been acquired
through a well-established co-operation with most of the major Italian
and European electronic industries and the development of proprietary products.
Silvia Mazzini received her degree in computer science
at the Pisa University, Italy, in 1983. From 1983 to 1987 she was with
Systems & Management, Pisa, where she was involved both in industrial
software development and research projects. In 1987-1988 she was in Delphi,
Lucca, , where she was involved in research projects. In 1988 she joined
Intecs Sistemi, where she is now senior software consultant.
Her research interests are in the field of software engineering,
specifically in advanced software engineering environments, process modeling,
and object-oriented technology.