Distributed and Outsourced Software Engineering

Peter Kolb, Bertrand Meyer (Fall semester 2009)


General info: Course description | Course books
Lectures: Schedule

General info


08.12.2009 Movies of the final project presentation are on-line here.
01.12.2009 Movies of lecture 10 are on-line here.
25.11.2009 Movies of lecture 9 are on-line here.
16.11.2009 Updated slides about risk managment.
10.11.2009 Movies of lecture 7 and 8 are on-line here.
27.10.2009 Assignment 4 is here. Deadline: Tuesday, December 8th 8am (Zurich time)
27.10.2009 Assignment 3 is here. Deadline: Tuesday, November 3rd 8am (Zurich time)
27.10.2009 Movies of lecture 5 and 6 are on-line here.
21.10.2009 The CMMI exercise is here.
21.10.2009 Movies of lecture 4 are on-line here.
13.10.2009 Movies of lecture 3 are on-line here.
13.10.2009 Reading assignment: Design and code reviews in the age of the internet Bertrand Meyer, 2008.
13.10.2009 Assignment 2 is here. Deadline: Tuesday, October 27th 8am (Zurich time)
06.10.2009 Assignment 1 is here. Deadline: Tuesday, October 13th 9am (Zurich time)
22.09.2009 Slides of lecture 2 and 3 have been updated
22.09.2009 The first assignment is here. Deadline: Friday, September 25th 9am (Zurich time)
2.09.2009 The course starts on Tuesday 22.09.2009 at 10hs (there is no exercise session at 9hs)
23.06.2009 The web page was created. See course description

Course description

Distributed and Outsourced Software Engineering

Web page at the computer science department: 251-0273-00

Article about the course

A remarkable phenomenon is affecting the software development scene: the massive transfer of developments to countries such as India and Russia offering highly qualified manpower at rock-bottom salaries. The outsourcing business is already in the hundreds of billions of dollars, causes employment fears among Western programmers, and has consequences on just about every aspect of software development (including education). Offshoring also serves as a magnifier of most of the issues of software engineering, including for example requirements analysis and quality control.

This course explores the offshoring phenomenon from a technical software engineering perspective, providing a set of guidelines for making outsourced projects succeed, through both management approaches (in particular the CMMI) and technical solutions in areas of requirements, specification, design, documentation and quality control. The presentation is based on experience of outsourcing at ABB and other companies.

The participants will take part in a case study exploring techniques for making an offshored project succeed (or recover from problems).

This course provides students with a clear view of the offshore software development phenomenon, enabling them to participate successfully in projects outsourced partially or totally, and also helping them define their own career strategies in the context of outsourcing's continued growth.



  • The course grade is based entirely on the project.


Recommended books

  • Michael Jackson: Requirements & Specifications,1995, Addison Wesley, ISBN: 0-201-87712-0

Further reading

About Software engineering:
  • Bertrand Meyer: Object-Oriented Software Construction, 2nd edition, Prentice Hall, 1997.
  • Barry W. Boehm: Software Engineering Economics, Prentice Hall, 1981.
  • Fred Brooks: No Silver Bullet - Essence and Accident in Software Engineering, in Computer (IEEE), vol. 20, no. 4, pages 10-19, April 1987.
  • John B. Goodenough and Susan Gerhart: Towards a Theory of Test: Data Selection Criteria, in Current Trends in Programming Methodology, ed. Raymond T. Yeh, pages 44-79, Prentice Hall, 1977.
  • Peter Naur: Programming with Action Clusters, in BIT, vol. 3, no. 9, pages 250-258, 1969.
  • Shari Lawrence Pfleeger and Joanne M Atlee: Software Engineering, 3rd edition, Prentice Hall, 2005.
  • SEI (Software Engineering Institute): CMMISM for Software Engineering, Version 1.1, Staged Representation (CMMI-SW, V1.1, Staged), 2005.
About Requirements engineering: About patterns:
  • Erich Gamma, Richard Helm, Ralph Johnson, and John Vlissides: Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software, Addison-Wesley, 1995, ISBN 0201634988
  • Karine Arnout's Ph.D. thesis: From Patterns to Components. Click here







Tuesday 10:00-12:00 IFW C 42


The project will be managed using the Origo project management framework


Requirements Specification

  • Project Template: Software Requirements Spec .pdf, .doc, .rtf
  • A Checklist for a Requirements Specification Review .pdf
  • Slides of Writing Effective Requirements Specifications .pdf

Quality assurance plan

Examples of Requirements Specification Documents

These documents are examples of good requirements specification documents. They were developped by last year students. However, they do not include API specifications.


To be announced.








Tuesday 9:00-10:00 IFW C 42






Martin Nordio RZ J3 044 632 02 97 English
Roman Mitin RZ H 22 044 632 72 90 English




Assignment 0 25.09.2009
Assignment 1 13.10.2009
Assignment 2 27.10.2009
Assignment 3 3.11.2009
Assignment 4 08.12.2008



Last update: 2009-11-16