Simulation-Based Stability Analysis for Software Release Plans
Release planning for incremental software development assigns features to releases such that most important technical, resource, risk and budget constraints are met. The research presented in this paper is based on a three staged procedure. In addition to an existing method for (i) strategic release planning that maps requirements to subsequent releases and (ii) a more fine-grained planning that defines resource allocations for each individual release, we propose a third step, i.e., (iii) stability analysis, which analyzes proposed release plans with regards to their sensitivity to unforeseen changes. Unforeseen changes can relate to alterations in expected personnel availability and productivity, feature-specific task size (measured in terms of effort), and degree of task dependency (measured in terms of work load that can only be processed if corresponding work in predecessor tasks has been completed). The focus of this paper is on stability analysis of proposed release plans. We present the simulation model REPSIM (Release Plan Simulator) and illustrate its usefulness for stability analysis with the help of a case example.
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