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Towards a Capability Model for Release Planning of Software Intensive Systems



Thesis download here:

Publication Type:

Doctoral Thesis


Release planning is an early product development activity concerned with deciding which features and quality improvements that should be pursued in development projects, i.e., it is an activity which to a large part decides how the development budget of a company is allocated.This thesis investigates release planning for long-lived software intensive systems; systems which contain software, electronics, and mechanics, and have a life-cycle of 10-20 years. In performing release planning for these systems, the existing system, including its architecture, often represent a large investment which has impact on which features and quality improvements that are cost-efficient to include in a release. However, in industry today, little attention is given to the existing system during planning, resulting in decisions being based on uncertain information, and thereby increasing the risk of problems in the development projects.This thesis is based on a multiple case study involving seven industrial companies developing and producing long-lived software intensive systems. There are several contributions in this thesis, aimed at understanding and improving the release planning process: (1) validation of previous research related to key-aspects for release planning including identification of short- and long-term planning as a new key-aspect; (2) the capture of state-of-the-practice for release planning; (3) a proposal for a capability model for release planning, which can be used to assess the capabilities of a company's release planning process, but also for identifying process improvement possibilities; and (4) a process for finding a balance between investments in features and quality improvements, developed based on the practices used at two of the most capable companies in the study. Finding such a balance is important since adding new features may attract new potential customers, while improving the quality for existing customers can reduce costs of poor quality.


author = {Markus Lindgren},
title = {Towards a Capability Model for Release Planning of Software Intensive Systems},
note = {Thesis download here:},
number = {ISBN 978-91-86135-06-5},
month = {November},
year = {2008},
school = {M{\\"{a}}lardalen University},
url = {}