Asset Management in Software Engineering – What is it after all?

01/19/2021
by   Ehsan Zabardast, et al.
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When developing and maintaining software-intensive products or services, we often depend on various "assets", denoting the inherent value to selected artefacts when carrying out development and maintenance activities. When exploring various areas in Software Engineering, such as Technical Debt and our work with industry partners, we soon realised that many terms and concepts are frequently intermixed and used inconsistently. Despite the central role of assets to software engineering, management, and evolution, little thoughts are yet invested into what assets eventually are. A clear terminology of "assets" and related concepts, such as "value" or "value degradation", just to name two, are crucial for setting up effective software engineering practices. As a starting point for our own work, we had to define the terminology and concepts, and extend the reasoning around the concepts. In this position paper, we critically reflect upon the resulting notion of Assets in Software Engineering. We explore various types of assets, their main characteristics, such as providing inherent value. We discuss various types of value degradation and the possible implications of this on the planning, realisation, and evolution of software-intensive products and services over time. With our work, we aspire to contribute to a more standardised definition of Asset Management in Software Engineering and foster research endeavours and their practical dissemination in a common, more unified direction.

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