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Why Do So Many Reuse Programs Fail?
September/October 1994 (vol. 11 no. 5)
pp. 114-115

Research, forecasts and government studies consistently show that reuse technology has the greatest potential to reduce the cost of software. Some reuse programs have succeeded, achieving anywhere from 30 to 80 percent reuse. Yet other programs have failed to show any clear return. How can such an obvious winner fail? Our experience as promoters and supporters of reuse and as measurers of its effectiveness suggests that two fundamental mistakes contribute to failure. The first mistake is that organizations treat reuse as a technology-acquisition problem instead of a technology-transition problem. Plenty of reuse technology is now mature enough for industrial use (although some problems remain). However, just buying technology usually does not lead to extensive reuse. The second mistake is that organizations fail to approach reuse as a business strategy. Even organizations that recognize reuse as a technology-transition issue may fail to address the business implications of reuse. We consider how the most important obstacles to reuse are economic and cultural not technological.

Index Terms:
software reusability; software cost estimation; software quality; social aspects of automation; government studies; software reuse; software cost; project failure; organizations; technology-acquisition problem; technology-transition problem; industrial use; business strategy; business implications; economic; cultural
"Why Do So Many Reuse Programs Fail?," IEEE Software, vol. 11, no. 5, pp. 114-115, Sept.-Oct. 1994, doi:10.1109/MS.1994.10047
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