Software Engineering-The Concurrent Development Model


The concurrent development model, sometimes called concurrent engineering, has been described in the following manner by Davis and Sitaram :

Project managers who track project status in terms of the major phases [of the classic life cycle] have no idea of the status of their projects. These are examples of trying to track extremely complex sets of activities using overly simple models. Note that although . . . [a large] project is in the coding phase, there are personnel on the project involved in activities typically associated with many phases of development simultaneously. For example, . . personnel are writing requirements, designing, coding, testing, and integration testing [all at the same time]. Software engineering process models by Humphrey and Kellner  have shown the concurrency that exists for activities occurring during any one phase. Kellner's more recent work  uses statecharts [a notation that represents the states of a process] to represent the concurrent relationship existent among activities associated with a specific event (e.g., a requirements change during late development), but fails to capture the richness of concurrency that exists across all software development and management activities in the project. . . . Most software development process models are driven by time; the later it is, the later in the development process you are. [A concurrent process model] is driven by user needs, management decisions, and review results.

The concurrent process model can be represented schematically as a series of major technical activities, tasks, and their associated states. For example, the engineering activity defined for the spiral model  is accomplished by invoking the following tasks: prototyping and/or analysis modeling, requirements specification, and design.


The activity—analysis—may be in any one of the states noted at any given time. Similarly, other activities (e.g., design or customer communication) can be represented in an analogous manner. All activities exist concurrently but reside in different states. For example, early in a project the customer communication activity (not shown in the figure) has completed its first iteration and exists in the awaiting changes state. The analysis activity (which existed in the none state while initial customer communication was completed) now makes a transition into the under development state. If, however, the customer indicates that changes in requirements must be made, the analysis activity moves from the under development state into the awaiting changes state.

The concurrent process model defines a series of events that will trigger transitions from state to state for each of the software engineering activities. For example,during early stages of design, an inconsistency in the analysis model is uncovered. This generates the event analysis model correction which will trigger the analysis activity from the done state into the awaiting changes state.

The concurrent process model is often used as the paradigm for the development of client/server applications. A client/server system is composed of a set of functional components. When applied to client/server, the concurrent process model defines activities in two dimensions : a system dimension and a component dimension. System level issues are addressed using three activities: design, assembly, and use. The component dimension is addressed with two activities: design and realization. 

Concurrency is achieved in two ways: 
(1) system and component activities occur simultaneously and can be modeled using the state-oriented approach described previously;
(2) a typical client/server application is implemented with many components, each of which can be designed and realized concurrently.

In reality, the concurrent process model is applicable to all types of software development and provides an accurate picture of the current state of a project. Rather thanconfining software engineering activities to a sequence of events, it defines a network of activities. Each activity on the network exists simultaneously with other activities. Events generated within a given activity or at some other place in the activity network trigger transitions among the states of an activity.
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