A Study of COTS Integration Projects: Product Characteristics, Organization, and Life Cycle Models

K. Megas, W. B. Frakes, J. Urbano, G. Belli and R. Anguswamy
ACM SIGAPP Symposium on Applied Computing, pp. 1028-1033, 2013.


We present a descriptive and exploratory study of factors that can affect the success of COTS-based systems. Based on a review of the literature and industrial experience, the choice of life cycle model and the amount of glueware required were hypothesized as the main factors in predicting project success. In this study we examined the relationship between different life cycle models and COTS integration project success. Two life cycle models were studied: the sequential model and the iterative model. Seven subjects from six industrial organizations responded to a survey providing data on 23 COTS integration projects. While there was variability between iterative and sequential projects on a variety of organizational and product factors, little difference was found between the life cycle models on the success criteria of projects (i.e. being on time, meeting requirements and being within budget). We found that projects that met two or three of the success criteria had significantly higher scores on project characteristics (organizational plus product) than those meeting none or just one.