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Software engineering for outsourced and offshore development

Peter Kolb, Bertrand Meyer (Winter semester 2006/2007)


General info: Course description | Course books
Lectures: Schedule

General info


17.01.2006 No lecture next week (24.01.2007).
17.01.2006 Slides about Risk Management added.
10.01.2006 The 1st delivery + 2nd delivery are available here. You can find the Requirements review of your project in the folder of your reviewer.
03.01.2006 Slides about Supplier Agreement Management added, schedule updated.
03.01.2006 Slides about Cost Model for Outsourcing added.
19.12.2006 Project files for quality assurance plan added.
13.12.2006 We re-distribute the review for the groups of: (19) J. Rutishauser - C. Zimmerli; (20) Ilyin Yevgeniy; (21) Samuele Gantner; (22) Ivan Krivulev. The others keep as before. Check the distribution here.
13.12.2006 Slides and exercise about CMMI added.
07.12.2006 The distribution of the requirements review of other groupís project is here. The requirements specification documents are available here.
01.12.2006 Slides about An introduction to testing & quality assurance added.
29.11.2006 Slides about Introduction to CMMI and references to CMMI added.
16.11.2006 Project Description added.
10.11.2006 Further reading and references added.
01.11.2006 A new set of slides (Requirements engineering) added. Schedule updated.
25.10.2006 First set of slides, project delivery and project grading added.
17.10.2006 The course starts on 25th October 2006.

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 - The grade will be entirely based on the project


  • First version of requirements specification: you must provide it on deadline (see dates below), otherwise you fail the course. It does not otherwise affect the final grade.

  • Requirements review of other groupís project (assigned randomly) (30%).

  • First version of QA plan (required but not graded).

  • Final delivery of requirements specification (35%) .

  • Final delivery of QA plan (35%) .


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







Wednesday 08:00-10:00 RZ F21


Theme: a project management tool for distributed development

  • Send an email to offshore AT se.inf.ethz.ch with the word "PROJECT Outsourcing" as part of the subject header
  • The distribution of the requirements review of other groupís project is here. The requirements specification documents are available here.

    • 8 November: We will provide the Project description. Project Description
    • 6 December - 1st Delivery : First version of requirements specification
    • 10 January - 2nd Delivery :
      • Requirements review of other groupís project (assigned randomly)
      • First version of QA plan
    • 14 February - Final Delivery: :
      • Final Delivery of requirements specification
      • Final Delivery of QA plan

      All deadlines are Wednesdays at 7 AM. It is OK to work in groups of 2 students.


    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

    • Description of 2nd delivery: Quality assurance , .pdf
    • Project QA and Collaboration Plan, .pdf, .rtf, .doc
    • System Test Plan, .pdf, .rtf, .doc






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



    Last update: 2007-01-17