Comparison Methodology

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Chapter 13

Comparison of Methodologies

. – p.41/192

Picking a Methodology
You’ve got a team of 10-12 developers eagerly awaiting your instructions. Which methodology do you pick? Usually one of the following things is done Choice dictated by the methodologies used previously by the developer’s boss Using a new “hyped” methodology “Heard from a friend of my brother’s wife that it’s good.” There was this lecturer at the College. . . Comparing methodologies is like comparing apples to oranges . – p.42/192

Comparing Apples to Oranges
Has been done before (using a Nicolet 740 FTIR spectrometer) In Annals of improbable research (Scott A. Sandford)

Result: the two are very similar

. – p.43/192

Comparing Apples to Oranges(2)
Other people might have different opinions Biologist points to taxonomy, describing similarities and differences Nutrition expert has still another opinion... Observation: depending on who you ask, you get different answers

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Comparing Methodologies
Same with methodologies: Computer scientist: tries to develop general (theoretical) framework for comparing methodologies Developer: tries to judge situation from prior experiences and case studies Senior management: tries to find out, if methodology will give certain quality assurances Vendor: tries to sell own product (so you have to read between the lines)

. – p.45/192

Comparing Methodologies(2)
So, how can we compare methodologies? 1. Describe “ideal” methodology, then compare to other methodologies Who determines what’s ideal? If we find ideal methodology, why use other methodologies? 2. Construct general comparison tool by selecting appropriate features 3. Develop a contingency framework to map appropriate methodology to a particular environment 4. Develop a common frame of reference for viewing different methodologies (provides a “meta-language”) . – p.46/192

Comparing Methodologies(2)
We are going to look at: Theoretical model for comparison (Song and Osterweil) (2.) Checklists (3.)/Frameworks (4.) Capability Maturity Model (CMM levels) We are not going to look at: Brochures of vendors

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Theoretical Model
Song and Osterweil criticize that previous comparison methods have been very unscientific Analysis and comparisons are activities common to many scientific fields E.g. comparing animals in biology in a systematic and objective way: Comparison of organs and inter-organ relations Usually organs (e.g. eyes) are classified by their functions (e.g. vision) Using this classification, organs having the same or similar functions can be identified and compared One compares structures (e.g. shape) and relations to other organs (e.g. brain) . – p.48/192

Theoretical Model(2)
Comparison of methodologies should be done similarly: Comparisons of components and inter-component relations Components should be classified by their functions (what problems they address) Components should then be characterized by their structures Problem: methodologies and their components are often not rigorously defined Methodologies and their components themselves need to be modeled

. – p.49/192

Methodology 1 Modeling Formalism Methodology 2

Build Process Model Process Model

Base Framework

Build Process Model Process Model

Classify Components Classification Develop Process Code Select Comparison Topics Topics Process Code Topics Make Comparison Difference Summarize Differences Summary . – p.50/192

Develop Process Code

Process Code Topics

Step 1: Build Process Model
Develop a model, a more formalized description, of each of the two methodologies After doing so, methodology can hopefully be decomposed into components Problem: many components (e.g. guidelines, rules-of-thumb) lack precise semantics Model must be at higher abstraction level, yet be compact and clear A number of Software Process Modeling Formalisms (SPMF) have been developed for this

. – p.51/192

Build Process...
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