Contact Software is one of the leading providers of solutions for product data management (PDM), product lifecycle management (PLM) and collaborative project management. The PLM suite CIM DATABASE supports collaborative and globally-distributed product development and aids in managing development processes. The product is based on an extensible, open platform and includes a comprehensive set of standard modules for managing item master data, product structure and bill of material, mechatronics, product costing, requirements and others. A strong focus is put on integrating the wide range of engineering tools and other software systems found in today’s companies.
As a developer of software solutions, focusing on the PLM and PDM sector Contact has special interest in this project in terms of analysis and measurement of the quality of software along its development cycles. This is especially important as the software developed by Contact and provided to the customers can be customized, extended and adapted by the customers themselves in cooperation with Contact’s experts. Independent development by customers, which is not only collaborative but also runs in parallel, leads to different versions and configurations of software which in turn may lead to problems when new platform releases are rolled out to the customers by Contact. The requirements regarding customization of the software are often dynamically changing, during development. Therefore, the key challenge of this Business Case is how to define appropriate measurement of quality and monitoring of the distributed development process between Contact and their customers under dynamically changing requirements.
The current practice in the area of software development, although successful, requires radical improvements for keeping the pace at the leading edge of the business area. Contact therefore intends to provide a new solution that allows measurement of quality and monitoring of the distributed and heterogeneous development process between Contact and their customers. Defining quality requirements and being able to have a quantified view of the quality of software even in distributed and therefore separated development branches through various customers will allow Contact to analyse and improve the overall development process. Usage of automated builds, continuous integration of software, the execution of unit tests and applying different software metrics facilitate a detailed evaluation of the overall and customer-specific development strategy and how this can be improved or generalized for multiple customers.
Previous relevant experience
CONTACT has mainly participated in regional RTD projects, though the researchers participating in the project have a extensive experience in the European Framework Programme. Some of the regional projects of CONTACT are: ASKOWI (08/2009-07/2011): Kontextuelle Erweiterung bestehender Wissensmanagementsysteme zur nutzerzentrierten Bereitstellung durch ein Assistenzsystem; WIND (07/2010-06/2013): Wandlungsfähig durch Integrationsfähigkeit und Differenziertheit (WInD) – Gestaltung wandlungsfähiger Produktionssysteme im deutschen Maschinen- und Anlagenbau; ADISTRA (04/2012 – 03/2015): Adaptierbares Instrumentarium für die strategische Produktplanung.
Main tasks in U-QASAR
CONTACT will be one of the end-users of the project. The profile of end-user of CONTACT is the one of a small and medium sized company developing turn-key software solutions in complex environments. The business case will be focused on a software development project based on an Agile environment so as to demonstrate the validity of the methodology and platform in such contexts. CONTACT will be deeply involved in the definition of Requirements and Business Cases and in the Validation and Assessment of the methodology and platform. Furthermore, CONTACT will participate in the Design and Implementation of the Platform, specifically in the design of the knowledge base of development projects. CONTACT will also participate in Dissemination and Exploitation activities.