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An evaluation of case tools for function-oriented analysis and object-oriented design

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Abstract

The project described in this paper was to establish a repeatable evaluation process and evaluation criteria for a software development environment that conducted requirements analysis using the IDEF0/IDEF1 function-oriented methodology and software design using an object-oriented methodology. A set of criteria was established and a procedure for weighting the criteria was defined. Then the process for evaluating CASE tools (or tool sets) to support analysis and design was outlined and validated using test cases. It is clear from this study and others cited in this paper that the factors to be used in evaluation of CASE tools are relatively common, but the weights will vary significantly depending upon the particular environment in which the tools will be used. In an environment where different tools and methodologies exist, criteria that address that storage and representation of models (in the repository) and those that address interface standards become exceedingly important. Of course, correct methodological support is still the most important criteria. After developing the evaluation criteria, validating the adequacy of the criteria to evaluate all the features of a CASE tool is very important. Using evaluators during the validation stage who were not involved with the criteria development helps to better identify inconsistencies and ambiguities in the criteria. An organization wishing to acquire CASE tools can begin by reviewing the substantial set of evaluation factors and criteria identified in the literature and assessing the importance of each to the organization's software development environment. Usually there will be multiple alternatives which will satisfy the organization's needs, with little risk involved in choosing between the top two or three alternatives. Following proven procedures and processes, such as those outlined by IEEE (7) and SEI (10), along with a careful assessment of organizational needs and directions should guide an organization to select CASE tools that maximize return on the substantial involvement of human and financial resources.

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