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A State-of-the-Practice Survey of Off-the-Shelf Component-Based Development Processes - page 6 / 14

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e. Limited possible candidates into ture/documentation.

1-3

components, by reading litera-

f. Did “hands-on” try-out of 1-3 components, e.g., on a downloaded demo ver- sion.

The respondents were asked to fill in “yes”, “no”, or “do not know” for these op- tions. The results are summarized in Figure 2 and show that activities a, c, e, and f were those mainly used. Thus, the familiarity-based selection process (activity c) and the Internet search, trial-based selection process (activity a, e and f) from the explora- tory study are proved to be more popular than a formal processes (activity d) in gen- eral. However, the further analysis with Chi-square shows that there are significant differences of the activities b and c between countries. In Norway and Italy, very few projects used the activity b. However, activity b was popularly used in Germany. In addition, almost all German projects performed activity c, while it was used only in half projects in Norway and Italy.

4.5. RQ5: when were OTS components selected?

From the exploratory study, we concluded that OTS components are selected in dif- ferent development phases. Thus, research question RQ5 was postulated to investi- gate the selection phase of OTS component. The respondents were asked to select one of five phases, ranging from pre-study to coding, as selection time. Figure 3 shows that OTS components were selected in the early stages, such as pre-study, require- ment, and overall design, in most projects, especially in Germany.

4.6. RQ6: what was the influence of the project context?

RQ6 aims at investigating the correlation between the project context and the OTS component selection process. We investigated two project context variables. The first is the project members’ familiarity with the Comp.1, measured by a five point Likert scale (i.e. very little, little, some, much, very much). The answers were coded into 1 to 5 (1 means very little and 5 means very much). The second variable is the impor- tance of Comp.1 in the system, measured by the contribution (in %) of ‘Comp.1’ to the overall system functionality.

First, we investigated the correlation between the two context variables and the phase in which Comp.1 was selected. The selecting phases are treated as an ordinal variable and coded into the values 1 to 5 (1 means the pre-study phase and 5 means the coding phase). The importance of Comp.1 was also treated as an ordinal variable, although it is measured on a continuous scale. We then used the Spearman correla- tion test in SPSS 14.0 to investigate the correlation. The results are shown in Table 1 and reveal that the selection phase of Comp.1 was weakly (with correlation coeffi- cient value -.356) correlated with the project members’ familiarity with it. It means that the project members preferred to decide the familiar OTS components in the early stage of the project. However, there is no significant connection between the importance of an OTS component and the phase it was selected.

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