[an error occurred while processing this directive]

Software engineering for outsourced and offshore development

Peter Kolb, Bertrand Meyer (Winter semester 2005/2006)


General info: Course description | Course books
Lectures: Schedule

General info


01.02.2006 Added Risk Management slides.
25.01.2006 Added further reading about patterns.
23.01.2006 The project deadlines were updated.
23.01.2006 We re-distribute the review for the groups of: Hans Jonas and Xu Baojun - Karsten Huetter - Jonas Bandi - Renato Iten and Guido Steiner. The others keep as before. Check the distribution here.
20.01.2006 The distribution for the review of the projects is here.
18.01.2006 New slides of MARWAS: Intercultural Aspects of IT offshoring to India.
20.12.2005 Updated the schedule, new slide of Cost Model for Outsourcing.
14.12.2005 New set of Project files added in the project section.
14.12.2005 New CMMI exercise and an example of Template Project Plan added.
07.12.2005 Activity for the next week: Read pages 108-136 of CMMM staged.
06.12.2005 Slides of Processes for Project Management and Engineering.
02.12.2005 Program updated.
23.11.2005 New set of slides of CMMI Model.
23.11.2005 An example of Model Checking in Pro B.
21.11.2005 Slides of Requirements and Formal Methods.
16.11.2005 Slides ofSoftware Requirements Engineering.
16.11.2005 Slides of Exercise 1: Valicert Case and Valicert Case 2nd Part.
04.11.2005 A paper on outsourcing and software engineering, to appear.
03.11.2005 Background material for the discussion of requirements: On Formalism in Specifications , Bertrand Meyer, IEEE Software, January 1985.
27.10.2005 First set of slides on line.

Course description

Software engineering for outsourced and offshore development

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

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.



  • 100% Project


  • Draft requirements specification document delivered.

  • Improved version of requirements specification document based on the finding of mutual review.


Course books

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

Further reading

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







Wednesday 08:00-10:00 RZ F21



  • DEADLINE: 10/02/2006.
    • First deadline: 11/01/2006 (first version of requirements document -A-).
    • Second deadline: 07/02/2006 (certify another requirement document -B-).
    • Final deadline: 17/02/2006 (revise A on the basis of B)
  • Send an email to offshore@se.inf.ethz.ch
  • The documents could be attached as files, zip or tar


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






Martin Nordio martin.nordio AT inf.ethz.ch Office: RZ F 9    



Last update: 2006-01-23