Abstract for: Application of System Dynamics Modelling in support of Microsoft’s Automation Strategy

Development of software is a dynamic and complex problem. A number of software development methodologies exist to enable software to be produced effectively. Software development methodologies, such as Waterfall and Agile consist of a set of activities that are carried out in the production of software. Activities include Requirement Capture, Design, Development and Testing. Elements of key software development tasks can be automated to improve quality and free up resource capacity. For example, performing software tests can be a laborious activity which if automated can be carried out quickly and repeatedly without error. However, developing automation takes time and is more cost effective for applications with a long shelf life. This paper describes an innovative System Dynamics based strategy tool, called the Automated Decision Support Tool (ADS Tool), developed by QinetiQ Ltd and Microsoft. The purpose of the ADS Tool was to assess the optimum level of automation to be used in the development of a software application. The model is a key element of Microsoft IT (MSIT) Engineering’s three year automation roadmap for increasing delivered scope and quality across MSIT Engineering, and is being successfully used by MSIT engineers in Seattle, India and China to develop automation strategies for a number of their internal IT applications.