An investigation of the factors affecting the lifecycle costs of COTS-based systems

  • Laurence Michael Dunn

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This research used a case study based approach to test Abts’ CBS Functional Density Rule of Thumb (Abts, 2002; 2004) and to identify the factors influencing the costs of COTS-based systems by means of statistical analysis of a large component dataset from IBM, Grounded Theory analysis of a series of interviews with software architects and project managers and an extended literature review.
Whilst the use of Glaser’s (1978) Grounded Theory approach provided support for Abts’ theory the statistical analysis provided no support for the theory that maximising the amount of system functionality provided by COTS components reduced system development costs.
This has led to the identification of a weakness in the Grounded Theory method in that it is unable to move beyond the preconceptions of the interviewees if the interview data collection method is used in isolation of other data collection methods.
However, overall this research has provided a deeper understanding of the issues affecting COTS-based design. By combining the outcomes of the Grounded Theory analysis and literature review a series of forces influencing the costs of building COTSbased systems have been identified, together with a set of principles, which when used in combination can enable software practitioners to make informed decisions about the impact on costs of using components.
Date of AwardJun 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorTineke Fitch (Supervisor), George Allan (Supervisor) & Jane Chandler (Supervisor)

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