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PROJECT NEWSLETTER Issue 2.


28.02.2011

Dear FACIT-SME Partners!

We would like to welcome you to the second issue of the FACIT-SME project newsletter!
 
As you know we are using these newsletters to foster the seamless communication between RTD partners and end-users. The aim of this writing is to recap the results of past year’s General Assembly meeting. We will also summarise the progress made in WP3, WP4 and WP5.
 
Since 1st January 2011, our RTD partner ESI is part of Tecnalia, and will henceforth be referred to as Tecnalia and not ESI. Tecnalia is Spain’s leading private R+D+I entity and the fifth largest in Europe. They have a staff of 1450 people and 25 facilities worldwide. With a client base of more than 4000 companies, they have succeeded in generating a turnover of EUR 125 million. For more information, please visit Tecnalia’s website at www.tecnalia.com.
tecnalia
 
Please find a list of upcoming events and dates at the end of this newsletter as a reminder. If you have any questions or comments regarding the content of this newsletter, please contact Frank-Walter Jaekel.
Again, we thank you for your attention!

The FACIT-SME RTD team

The General Assembly in Bilbao – Reaching an Important Milestone
Let us start off by recapping last year’s General Assembly, which took place in Bilbao on the 23rd and 24th September. The entire consortium was represented with Tecnalia (formerly ESI) acting as the host. All participants including the end-users were able to ask questions and actively participate. We had fruitful discussions about the progress made in the project.   article1
Reporting, management issues, technical content of the project and its dissemination were all covered. The main topic up for discussion was the deliverable for WP2, concerning the setup of the open reference model of FACIT. Prior to the General Assembly we had released our first newsletter including a readable extract of D2.1 in order for everyone to better familiarise themselves with the content of D2.1 to be discussed during the meeting.
On Day 1 the open reference model was introduced to the end-users with one session devoted to the setup of an application scenario of FACIT’s ORM. We talked about how companies could use the ORM and in which situations the FACIT knowledge base and software tool would be most beneficial.
In another discussion later that day we summarised the major requirements of the FACIT projects, which were established based on the results of a questionnaire completed by the end-users. We identified a few scenarios in which end-users face shortcomings in their software development practices and can achieve improvements in their processes. Among these were, for example, that end-users often struggle to communicate and share project documents efficiently. We concluded that end-users have a series of requirements that the FACIT software tool has to fulfil.
  • Easy-to-adopt framework for standardisation
  • Put primary focus on process efficiency then move towards certification
  • Achieve measurable targets (e.g. cost savings)
  • Reduce headache of document management
  • Access to a knowledge base to support training
  • Ability to get involved in larger projects
  • More accurate effort estimations (reduce loss)
  • Greater transparency in time management
A round table discussion organised by Regens took place on Day 2. New requirements were defined and participants again were able to take part in a comprehensive question and answer session. Among the topics addressed were WP3 and WP4, which focus on the FACIT software tool. Exploitation and dissemination issues were also discussed.
Another positive result of the day was that the General Assembly accepted deliverable D.2.1 Following the General Assembly the consortium finalised and officially submitted the deliverable to the Commission in late September 2010.
The Consortium also agreed on future meetings, such as the next General Assembly, which will be held in Berlin 31st March – 1st April, 2011.
Agenda and deliverables for the next GA – What lays ahead
The main topics of the upcoming General Assembly will be the specifications described in deliverables D2.2 (Deployment model and customisation) and D3.1 (OSES Architecture and Component specification). Both deliverables are available to the FACIT-SME members. D2.2 is restricted to the project partners only, whereas D3.1 is publicly available.

The topics of the next General Assembly are as follows:
  agenda
  • Finalisation of WP2 – D2.2 (ORM) and WP3 – D3.1 (OSES) and approval of the deliverables by the GA
  • Presentation of the development process in WP4
  • Discussion of WP5 scenarios
  • Initial FACIT-SME prototype WP4 - D4.1 and discussion of the prototype evolution in WP4
  • Status and progress of work for WP6 “Training and Certification” which started in January
  • Exploitation and dissemination
An important topic of the next General Assembly will be the discussion about how to plan the project review for summer 2011.
What we have planned for the FACIT software tool
The FACIT software tool will support IT-SMEs by providing them with knowledge of software engineering methods, project management practices and quality models that can be easily applied in their operations. The FACIT software will act as a storage space for SMEs for accessing best practices, process models, tasks and checklists, as well as recommendations on how to implement standards and methods recognised worldwide in their companies or for one project only.
 
FACIT-SME defines three areas for providing support to IT-SMEs (Figure 1):
  article1
  • The IT-World covers existing reference knowledge such as methods, best practises, quality models and tools. The FACIT meta-model implemented within the FACIT database makes this reference knowledge available to the users. Therefore users have access to knowledge assets, provided by the IT-SME community via search facilities, relating to their needs.
  • The area of IT enterprise or IT project provides an enterprise with a space to augment and store enterprise model data as well as required master data for quality assessment or operation. Within this area several project spaces can be defined that cover project specific models and data.
  • The operation enactment and connector provides a mechanism for relating master data to specific models of projects or enterprises e.g. a person who is a quality manager for ISO 9000, or specific document templates and instances. It also provides web services which support the connection between the operation and the FACIT data.
portfolio

The FACIT features can be provided as web services via ASP or installed at an enterprise. The ASP concept allows the use of the FACIT assets without local implementation. A specific project model can be defined and operated with workflow and document management via the ASP. In the enterprise area the quality assessment can be prepared and executed without the local installation of modelling and assessment tools.
FACIT-SME consists of three types of components:
  • Components developed within FACIT-SME and consisting of the knowledge covered by the project such as the FACIT database, FACIT web services, and FACIT portal together with specific services such as those for quality and search.
  • Components required for the use of the FACIT solution, existing externally, such as an integrated modelling tool. This is an integrated part, but it should be possible to substitute it with other modelling tools. Therefore, open interfaces are defined to support the connection to external modelling tools.
  • The enactment of a project or company model is part of FACIT-SME. The presentation of the enactment also requires the operation of the models via an interface to the FACIT-SME solution. However, the workflow system, document management and messaging are external components. They are connected via web services that enable reading project-specific information from the FACIT database and sending data about the project’s execution, such as performance indicators and quality management assurance, to the database.
The specific functions developed within FACIT-SME (point 1 above) are grouped in the FACIT box (Figure 2):
  • FACIT-DB (Data repository of FACIT-SME including relationships between methods and quality models as well as methods and business requirements)
  • Persistent layer implementing the access layer to the data repository
  • FACIT WEB services realising the interface to the FACIT repository from external components
  • FACIT portal providing the user interface for accessing the FACIT features
  • Quality model services, modelling services, search services (filtering and selection)
facit_box

An external but integrated component is the modelling tool. It will be integrated with specific connectors and closely related to the modelling services.
To show the interface to the operation, the FACIT-SME project requires tools for execution support. These tools can be connected via web service interfaces. However, it is also possible to use a specific component to map from FACIT web services to XPDL or other formats such as BPEL. To show the functionality of FACIT-SME it is important that the operation is connected with all related web services and does not only receive information (like in an XPDL format). It should also support to send indicator values to the FACIT database via web services.
WP5 - What the evaluation will involve
WP5, which deals with the evaluation and testing of FACIT’s software tool, has been coordinated by Regens as well as by the partners IPK, Tecnalia, Joinet, and the end users Qonsult, TeamSoftware, and Calculus. This work started last October (2010) with Regens embarking on the definition of the evaluation scenarios. This provided the main input for deliverable D5.1 regarding the evaluation scenario definition of how the testing of the application should proceed.
The overall evaluation approach is demonstrated in the figure below.
  István Görög
wp5

Objectives of the Evaluation WP:
  • Organise the evaluation of the project’s results using the scenarios to ensure that all features are assessed
  • Create project models for the different scenarios, applying the project’s results
  • Deploy project models in the scenarios
  • Apply the created models in the scenarios in two stages

Regens proposal for the scenarios is outlined below:

A.) Real-life scenarios (improvement-focused scenarios)

    In these scenario end-users Qonsult (IT), Team Software (IT), and Calculus (HU) will be asked to run real trials based on their everyday project practices. Regens’ practice for process management as described by ISO 9001 rules will be used.

B.) QA Scenario - (Quality-model-oriented scenario)

    This scenario will focus on quality assurance. The quality-model-oriented scenario will involve Tecnalia as a main contributor of applicable quality models in software engineering. A Spanish SME will carry out the quality model oriented scenario with the support of Tecnalia.

Regens established the proposed timing and breakdown of the tasks for WP5 as follows:
  • Analysis and internal testing (Month: 14 -16)
  • From the end of February the first working prototype will be tested by RTD partners. No end-users will be involved in this testing. According to the task description of WP5 Regens intends to cooperate with the contributing SMEs (TeamSoftware, Qonsult and Calculus) in order to assess their needs and find the model most applicable to them. If they have different processes, then Regens will introduce an interview process among end user SMEs, in order to establish an in-depth analysis of their processes, and measure the major differences between processes currently in place and available models.
    Tasks to be executed during this period:
    • Analysis and testing of available models
    • Review of system functionality
    • Cooperation with contributing SMEs to assess current processes
    • Use of Enterprise modelling techniques (e.g.: IEM and MO2GO) at selected customers with the support of the local RTD partner and IPK.

  • Scenario definition (Month: 17 – 19)
  • Based on the analysis in the preceding step Regens will be able to construct end-user scenarios and define on which indicators measures of efficiency gains will be based, in line with DoW B3. indicators. This will give a clear indication of how the models need to function.

  • Execution and Evaluation of Scenarios (Month: 21 – 27)
  • The evaluation of the scenarios will be based on how our SME partners experience usage of the FACIT knowledge base and software tool in their daily operations.
    This phase will include:
    • Execution support for scenarios
    • Collecting impressions, opinions, change-requests and additional requirements
    • Controlling the execution process
    • Evaluating the scenario execution

  • Reviewing the execution
  • As part of review and summary, feedback on the performance and benefits of the FACIT results will be collected from testers, any bugs encountered will be fixed, and a list of needed improvements will be established. This will allow us for further fine-tuning of the application and adding any additional features that may be required.
    • Collecting and reviewing predefined goals for their fulfilment
    • Collecting feedback from contributing SMEs

    D 5.2 finalisation is due month 28
At the end Regens intends to publish a summary of the major achievements according to the indicators defined in Annex I.
Let's disseminate!
The goal of the dissemination is to give to the project adequate visibility within the partners’ countries, all of Europe and beyond, and to prepare the potential market for the project’s outcome with a focus on strengthening the market position of SMEs all over Europe.

With this ambition in mind, the project developments were advertised at events and through information in print media as well as electronic media towards well-defined target groups such as software-developing SME’s, members of the SME-AG’s, IT-providing SME’s, the research community and also the general audience.
  globe_keyboard
In Italy, CONFAPI published an article in the journal “Media & Impresa” and Qonsult published an article in the journal “Econerre” and provided a description of the project on their website.
In Hungary, IVSZ published two articles about FACIT-SME, one of them together with Régens and Calculus in the “IT Business” magazine, a project description in the proceedings of the MENTA conference, and project results on their website as well as a newsletter. Furthermore, Régens contributed the first issue of the project newsletter and published an article on their website. Calculus published a short summary of the project on two University websites and gave an introduction to FACIT-SME at the Technology World 2010 in London.
In Spain, Tecnalia presented FACIT-SME at the International Conference on Software and Data Technologies (ICSOFT) 2010.
With respect to the general European Audience, IPK presented a speech related to FACIT-SME within a networking session of the ICT Event 2010 in Brussels with participation of industry and research. Furthermore, IPK is constantly evolving the project website.
The publication and dissemination will continue during the next project period to enable future use and research of the scientific results of the FACIT-SME project.
FACIT SME Events Agenda 2010 and 2011
Past events:
  • General Assembly. Bilbao, Spain. 23-24 September 2010
  • Work Meeting. Berlin, Germany. 29 November – 3 December 2010
  • Work Meeting. Bologna, Italy. 7-11 February 2011
Upcoming events:
  • General Assembly. Berlin, Germany. 31 March – 1 April 2011
Tentative date for Review meeting:
  • Review Meeting. Brussels, Belgium. 21 July 2011 (not yet confirmed)
 
 
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All rights reserved by FACIT-SME Consortium 2011.
Coordinator contact: Frank-Walter Jaekel    Fraunhofer IPK-Berlin    frank-walter.jaekel@ipk.fhg.de
This project is co-financed by the European Commission.

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