Parallel Changes in Large-Scale Software Development: An Observational Case Study

Author(s): Dewayne E. Perry, Harvey P. Siy and Lawrence G. Votta
Venue: ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology (TOSEM)
Date: 2001



An essential aspect of large scale software projects is the parallel development by teams of developers which has profound effect on the quality and timeliness of the project. This paper performs and observational case study that collects and examines the configuration management system of a legacy system to understand problems encountered in parallel development.

The study involves configuration management data from the Code Decay Project supported in part by NSF. The data comes particularity from the complete change and quality history of a subsystem of the Lucent Technologies' 5ESS over the span of 12 years (1984-1996).

The results of the study find that the degree of parallelism is much higher than considered by tool builders; there are multiple levels of parallelism and data for some important aspects is uniform and consistent for all levels; the tail cases should receive the most attention to provide solutions for the overall problem; and there is a significant correlation between the degree of parallel work on a given component and its quality.