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Economics of Software Reuse Revisited

Malan, Ruth; Wentzel, Kevin D.

HPL-93-31

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Abstract: The field of software reuse is attracting increasing attention from academics and practitioners who recognize the economies to be gained from reducing duplication of software development effort. However, development for reuse requires additional costs that are difficult to justify under a single-project management view. Since reuse benefits accrue over time and across a number of projects, project management decision making must shift to a multi-project, long-term view and this changes management information requirements. In particular, given scarce resources management needs to be able to assess whether software reuse will have the kind of return that warrants the up-front investment in reusability. This paper evaluates and extends the pioneering contributions of other authors in the area of cost-benefit analysis for software reuse. In addition to incorporating timing and risk inherent in future reuse opportunities, the analysis includes reuse costs and benefits that were not accounted for in previous models.

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