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Object Technology and Reuse: Lessons from Early Adopters
October 1997 (vol. 30 no. 10)
pp. 47-59

Although adopting a new software process technology is rarely easy, the early adoption of OO is likely to be particularly difficult and risky. In 1992, the authors initiated four case studies of early OO adopters, which we continued until 1997. The longitudinal case studies reveal the actual challenges early adopters faced and helped us develop recommendations about how organizations can succeed with adoption in spite of potential barriers.

The four cases illustrate lessons that should be of direct interest to organizations attempting to achieve greater reuse through OO and those having to confront issues about software process technology adoption. All four case sites encountered learning barriers and barriers from immature technology; more important, all sites found it difficult to achieve systematic reuse.

Organizations contemplating the adoption of object orientation and systematic reuse must balance the benefits of early adoption against the costs and risks we describe, and then develop an appropriate innovation strategy.

For those organizations that do not have the resources or inclination to make such investments, the authors advise waiting. Over time, technologies destined for broad acceptance inevitably get simpler and easier to use; standards coalesce; complementary tools emerge that make it easier to assemble a complete architecture off the shelf; training gets better, cheaper, and more readily available; the supply of professionals already proficient in the technology increases; and wisdom accumulates in the industry at large about how and where to best apply the technology. Even among organizations that can afford substantial investments in process innovation, the benefits of waiting can often be compelling.

Citation:
Robert G. Fichman, Chris F. Kemerer, "Object Technology and Reuse: Lessons from Early Adopters," Computer, vol. 30, no. 10, pp. 47-59, Oct. 1997, doi:10.1109/2.625304
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