The traceable lifecycle model

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Title: The traceable lifecycle model
Author: Nadon, Robert Gerard
Abstract: Software systems today face many challenges that were not even imagined decades prior. Challenges including the need to evolve at a very high rate, lifecycle phase drift or erosion, inability to prevent the butterfly effect where the slightest change causes unimaginable side effects throughout the system, lack of discipline to define metrics and use measurement to drive operations, and no "silver bullet" or single solution to solve all the problems of every domain, just to name a few. This is not to say that the issues stated above are the only problems. In fact, it would be impossible to list all possible problems--software itself is infinitely flexible bounded only by the human imagination. These are just a portion of the primary challenges today's software engineer faces. There have been attempts throughout the history of software to resolve each one of these challenges. There have been those who tried to tackle them individually, simultaneously, as well as various combinations of them at one time. One such method was to define and encapsulate the various phases within software, which has come to be called a software lifecycle or lifecycle model. Another area of recent research has lead to the hypothesis that many of these challenges can be resolved or at least facilitated through proper traceability methods. Virtually none of today's software components are completely derived from scratch. Rather, code reuse and software evolution become a large portion of the software engineer's duties. As Vance Hilderman at HighRely puts it, "Research has shown that proper traceability is vital. For high quality and safety-critical engineering development efforts however, traceability is a cornerstone not just for achieving success, but to proving it as well." So if software is not derived from scratch, having the traceability to know about its origination is invaluable. Given today's struggles, what is in store for the future software engineer? This paper is an attempt to quantify and answer (or at least project a possibility) that involves a new mindset and a new lifecycle model or structure change that may assist in tackling some of the above referenced issues.
Department: Electrical and Computer Engineering
Subject: Lifecycle Traceability Computer software Software evolution Software maintenance Software architecture Software requirements Evaluation Testing Software engineering Software design
Date: 2010-12

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