Deontic logic based process modelling for co-ordination support in virtual software corporations.
Virtual Software Corporations (VSCs) are a novel and important organisational form
for large-scale software development. The increased complexity of this development
environment requires the use of tools to support human actors in undertaking their
tasks, which in turn require modelling solutions able to capture the VSC specific
One of the key aspects identified for software development in a VSC setting is the
need to support co-ordination. One approach in the development of support for coordination
in heterogeneous environments in respect to processes and support tools,
such as VSCs, is the use of commitment management. The purpose of this thesis is to
define a formalism suitable for capturing and managing commitments, as a means to
support co-ordination. This is done by first analysing existing VSCs, and determining
the requirements for co-ordination support. Consequently a formalism is defined to
address the requirements. The formalism is based on a commitment modelling
approach and deontic logic, a modal logic, which is used to manage the commitments.
The defined formalism is the basis of a prototype support system, which is used for
testing and evaluating. The evaluation has focused on identifying the level of support
provided for the initial requirements. To this end three process examples have been
used: the initial case study, the study of an independent VSC and the example of a
desired process for software configuration management.The results indicate that the formalism, through the use of the prototype system, is
able to represent and to manage commitments, as the most important issues in coordinating
VSC software development. Thus it has a significant contribution as a
modelling approach and it was shown to be applicable to realistic process scenarios.