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Title: Investigating software customisation across distributed boundaries
Author: Qahtani, Abdulrahman
ISNI:       0000 0004 5367 4041
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2015
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In recent years the software industry has paid significant attention to customising software products by means of outsourcing and Agile development practices. When these areas overlap there are benefits and challenges. This study investigates the customisation process for packaged software products in projects involving multiple clients, and the communication of their requirements across distributed boundaries. A literature review identified the challenges involved and a framework for challenges of customising software products across distributed boundaries (FCCSD) is proposed to address them using onsite development practices. Local decision making and local development are considered as a means of reducing difficulties in communicating the customisation requirements of multiple clients across distributed boundaries through a new model. This model for communicating customisation requirements in the distributed domain, termed (CCRD), has two scenarios, one using decision making at the distributed client’s location, and the second enhancing onsite development of certain requirements in order to reduce delays and misunderstandings between the clients and the teams involved. A preliminary study was conducted to confirm the FCCSD. This employed a questionnaire survey of 19 highly experienced participants. The CCRD model was evaluated in three stages using an industrial case study of a company with 18 distributed clients. The first was a contextual inquiry to create a baseline model for a real world case. The second involved the simulation of the CCRD model using a discrete-event simulation approach, traced by the baseline model using real data. Finally, the findings of previous experiments were validated through a study conducted by means of semi-structured interviews with seven experts at this same company. The key contributions of this study are as follows: First is the proposed framework (FCCSD)that addresses a number of challenges facing customisation across distributed boundaries from literature. Second, this study highlights issues of the communication and negotiation of clients’ customisation requirements across distributed boundaries, and their implications. Therefore, this study demonstrates the statistically significant impact of making decisions and negotiating clients’ requirements, as well as conducting certain development practices, on their premises to limit the implications of communication challenges over distributed boundaries, such as delays in making decisions, a long duration of development and the entire customisation process, and misunderstandings about clients’ requirements.
Supervisor: Wills, Gary Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: QA76 Computer software