The Economics and Reuse track consisted of a panel moderated by Jeff Poulin of IBM and a working group chaired by Masao Matsumoto of NEC. The panel served to bring out the major topics and issues surrounding the funding and benefits of a reuse program. The working group built on the issues raised in the panel by sharing experiences and the expertise of the working group members and by identifying key areas for future research.
The panel on "Economics and Reuse" presented a debate on current issues related to reuse ROI and business issues. The panel consisted of the following leaders in reuse economics:
The debate followed a "no-holds-barred" format that allowed the panel members to state and defend their positions from attacks made by other panel members and the audience. For each debate category, a panel member presented a PRO position for 5 minutes, another panel member presented a CON position for 5 minutes, then after 2 minutes each for rebuttals, the remaining panel members and audience joined the fray.
To help illuminate the issues (and to have fun) panel members took extreme (and sometimes outrageous) positions on the following issues:
The working group focused on software engineering evolution in the recent past, especially with respect to automatic support for reuse in CASE tools and other software development environments. The major change comes from people's attitudes to reuse and that what we consider reuse today we tend to discount as "business as usual" tommorow. An example of this comes from "reusing" the knowledge we have about compiler technology whenever we use tools such as lexx and yacc. Therefore, we identified the first research issue as:
Several working group members pointed out that metrics have different interpretations depending on the role of the person reviewing them. For this reason, metrics must focus on the goals of their audience and we must have metrics to support each audience. This led to a second research issue:
Although the group made no attempt to reach consensus on any issue, the group agreed that despite which metrics we used for each level of management or each audience, we should have a core set of standard metrics for use by everyone. The core set would consist of highly objective values, upon which more technical metrics or business metrics could build. The group also decided that despite all their shortcomings, "lines-of-code" remained the industry standard unit of productivity.
The working group identified one final research area as the need for reuse metrics to assist in the business planning of products. To date, no one knows of any way to predict the level of reuse on future products. So, the final research area consists of answering the question: