WIKLIDO – a method supporting client-provider cooperation in software acquisition projects

Objectives:

The objective is to reduce the risks of insufficient cooperation and communication between the software system client and provider by developing models and associated procedures which support and guide the cooperating parties during software acquisition processes.

Contact:

The contact for this research project is here.

Rationale:

Insufficient cooperation between the client and the provider of software poses major risks for software acquisition processes. Misunderstood objectives, inadequate scope, erroneous or missing requirements, lack of visibility of control over the development and deployment processes are among these risks which have their roots in insufficient cooperation and communication between clients and providers. The main stakeholders of software acquisition represent different perspectives and often different organization cultures. The client and provider domains are typically different (for instance IT on the provider’s side and medicine, banking, transportation, administration etc., on the client’s side). Client and provider representatives are usually of different professions, different levels of experience, knowledge and education. It makes the client–provider cooperation difficult and requires special attention during software acquisition. The shortcomings and inadequacies of this cooperation are important risk factors which can severely threaten the success of software acquisition projects.

Experience collected in the domain of software engineering led to identification of multiple best practices which are now reflected in standards and guidelines. Some of these recommendations address the client-supplier cooperation problem and provide guidelines on mitigating the related risks. The relevant standards include: ITIL, CMMI-ACQ, COBIT, IBM RUP, ISO 12207:2008, IEEE Std 828-2005, IEEE Std 1062-1998, IEEE Std 830-1998. However, as the scope of these standards is rather broad, the client–provider cooperation is covered in terms of general recommendations and no working solutions are proposed. The standards introduce the taxonomy of terms and provide general guidelines for the recommended behaviour of the cooperating parties. They rather restrict themselves to drawing attention to the problem than provide sufficient basis for developing a working solution to the problem. This leaves a room for more specialised solutions which would directly lead to structuring the software client-provider cooperation in organisational, data exchange and procedural terms.

Approach:

The distinguishing features of the WIKLIDO approach can be summarized as follows:

  • Capturing the essential elements of software client-provider cooperation and representing them as a WIKLIDO metamodel.

  • Applying the metamodel to a specific software acquisition process and specializing it to the level of detail adequate for the assumed purpose (e.g. the model supporting requirements elicitation will be different than a model supporting software architecture selection process).

  • Distinguishing the role of Process Engineer to support the Users (the representatives of the co-operating parties) during the above mentioned specialization.
  • To use Internet-based tools to represent the models and to facilitate their use by the Users.

Results:

The result is the WIKLIDO framework which comprises the method, its application scenarios and supporting tools.

The WIKLIDO method components comprise the following elements:

  • BWIP – a knowledge base of the Process Engineer. It contains the knowledge about practices of modeling the client–provider cooperation.

  • MWIPU – a model of cooperation of Process Engineer and the Users. The model employs the elements (patterns of cooperation and the terms and definitions) imported from BWIP which are made accessible to Users to support them while constructing the MWKDO model.

  • MWKDO – a model describing the client–provider cooperation. It is presented in terms of abstractions defined in SPEM2 standard. The main elements of MWKDO model are patterns of the client–provider cooperation.

The application of the WIKLIDO method comprises the sequence of the following steps:

  • Step 1: Inception - the objective of this step is to define the scope of the WIKLIDO application in a specific software acquisition project. The execution of this step is coordinated by Process Engineer who is an expert in using WIKLIDO approach. In this step, the Process Engineer is responsible for identification of the roles of cooperating partners, identification of the cooperation areas requiring the WIKLIDO support and selection of the best practices to be applied by client and provider in the software acquisition processes.

  • Step 2: Tailoring – the objective is to develop the MWKDO model. The execution of the step is coordinated by Process Engineer. With his/her help Model Users specialize the generic models included in BWIP to the sufficient level of detail (choosing this level is one of the important decisions to be taken in this step). The cooperation between Process Engineer and Model Users is driven by the processes represented in MWIPU.

  • Step 3: Execution – during this step the MWKDO model is used to support the client-provider cooperation in the software acquisition processes.

The WIKLIDO components are generated and made accessible to the users by the EPF Composer tool.

Case studies:

  • In the first case study the MWKDO model was produced for the project aiming at acquisition of a hospital management system. The role of software provider was played by a hospital management software producer (ISH Polska), and the role of client - by the Swissmed Centrum Zdrowia hospital. The subject of acquisition was the eMedSolution system. The produced model was used to support requirements elicitation and their subsequent mapping on the eMedSolution system.

  • In the second case study the MWKDO model was developed for the project aiming at acquisition of a financial monitoring and control system. The role of software provider was played by COMARCH SA software house and the role of client by the IT department of Polish Ministry of Finance. The subject of acquisition was the SIMIK system. The MWKDO model was built to support cooperation of the partners while performing system analysis and design. The partners agreed that the model integrates recommendations derived from RUP and the best practices of the IT Department of the Ministry.

Publications:

  1. Wyrzykowski K., Andryszczyk E., Pruszyński J., Kowalski P.: Zastosowanie metody WIKLIDO w projekcie usprawnienia procesów analizy i projektowania na bazie metodyki RUP, 13th National Conference on Software Engineering (2011)
  2. Download PDF (252 kB)

  3. Górski J., Wyrzykowski K.: A method of supporting client-provider cooperation in software acquisition processes and its evaluation criteria, Electrical Review, No 9, 2010, pp. 188-192
  4. Download PDF (256 kB)

  5. Wyrzykowski K., Górski J.: Kryteria oceny metody wspomagającej interakcję klient-dostawca oprogramowania i ich zastosowanie do metody WIKLIDO, 11th National Conference on Software Engineering (2009)
  6. Download PDF (214 kB)

  7. Wyrzykowski K., Kowalski P.: Koncepcja programu usprawnienia procesu inżynierii oprogramowania w oparciu o model RUP, TOGAF, PRINCE2, ITIL, 8th National Conference on Information Technology (2008)
  8. Download PDF (223 kB)

  9. Dąbrowski P., Jakubowski M., Górski J., Wyrzykowski K.: Wspieranie współpracy klienta i dostawcy szpitalnego systemu informatycznego e-MedSolution w organizacji medycznej Swissmed Trzy perspektywy, National Medical Review, No. 12 (2007)
  10. Download PDF (443 kB)

  11. Pruszyński J., Wyrzykowski K.: Usprawnienie procesu zarządzania wymaganiami w przedsięwzięciu produkcyjnym na bazie metodyki Rational Unified Process, 6th National Conference on Information Technology (2006)
  12. Download PDF (271 kB)

  13. Wyrzykowski K., Górski J.: Modelowanie współpracy klienta i dostawcy w przedsięwzięciach pozyskiwania oprogramowania, I Małopolska Konferencja Zarządzanie projektem (2006)
  14. Download PDF (690 kB)