ICSP5: Computer Supported Organizational Work

Integrating Active Databases, Coordination, Method Engineering, Process, and Workflow technologies

14-17 June 1998
Chicago, Illinois, USA
at the Lisle/Naperville Hilton Hotel

Sponsored by the International Software Process Association (ISPA)
In cooperation with ACM SigSoft
Industrial Sponsors: Lucent Technologies, Motorola

Tutorial on Method Engineering

Method integration with metaCASE environments

Juha-Pekka Tolvanen

Department of Computer Science and Information Systems
University of Jyvaskyla

Keywords: metamodeling, metaCASE, system development methods, method engineering

Objectives of the tutorial are three-fold: To discuss the general applicability of situation specific information system design environments, their advantages and disadvantages; To describe how methodical needs of different individuals can be supported through adaptable and integrated methods; To teach how individually adaptable and integrated CASE environments can be built based on metamodels; To demonstrate the capabilities of metaCASE environments with real-life examples.

Target audience: The tutorial is designed for people responsible for system development methods and tools and for people interested in method development and method integration. These include IT managers and IS designers as well as researchers on the field of methods. Knowledge of some system development method and CASE tool is desirable, but knowledge on metamodeling is not required. Suitability for ICSP audience: Method engineering and metamodeling has recently received much attention in the system engineering community because of standardisation efforts (e.g. OMG), increasing availability of metamodel-driven technologies and standards, and because of the need to better understand and to modify information system development methods. These novel areas are also related to the topic areas of ICSP5, namely supporting collaboration and integration of work products based on different methods (such as business process re-engineering methods and system development methods).

Summary of the tutorial: Computer Aided System Engineering or CASE tools, much- heralded as the perfect answer to every software designer's problem, have largely failed to have the expected effects. Recent studies suggest that one major reason for this observed lack of success has been the narrowness of their approach, which forces designers to use a fixed set of methods supplied as a part of the standard-like package. As a result, too often organisations' requirements, influenced by contingencies of information systems development (ISD), learning on methods use, and emergence of new modeling needs, are not satisfied with current CASE tools. The response of the academia and industry has been the so-called metaCASE approach which allows the user to specify his own ISD methods to the tool and then design with that.

In the tutorial we will discuss the requirements, applicability and implications of the metamodeling approach in supporting flexible method use in CASE. At the beginning of the tutorial we will introduce the notions and types of metamodels and demonstrate some metamodeling techniques with examples. These examples include metamodels of object- oriented methods as well as structured methods.

After having discussed the principles of metamodeling, supporting customizable CASE tools (i.e. metaCASE) will be tackled, especially state of the art and general requirements presented for metaCASE are discussed. Moreover, we study some promising areas for their use, including customization of CASE for specific ISD projects and software engineering environments, and support for new modeling demands such as business modeling. One of the most promising areas, however, is method integration which means that knowledge captured in various IS models stored in the repository can be utilized by various users in different tasks of ISD using different methods. For example, knowledge about a company's business processes and way of working described in business models can be used further on IS planning (while developing IS architectures using methods like IBM's Business Systems Planning) and in specific ISD projects (using some structured or object-oriented method).

The integration of methods is illustrated by using a metaCASE tool called MetaEdit+ developed by MetaPHOR research project at the University of Jyvaskyla. The integration of methods of course depend on the modeling languages and methods used, raising new requirements for method developers and users. Obviously, the utilization of more flexible metaCASE tools will most likely influence the nature of ISD methods as well. Because of the customization possibilities, the acceptance of CASE and supported methods will improve, and organisations can learn from their use of methods and incorporate these experiences back to the methods used. At the end of the tutorial we will identify and have a discussion on the major topics of future research on metamodeling and metaCASE.

Schedule of events with time allocations:
1. Introduction (30 min)
- metamodels
- metamodeling
- method engineering
- CASE and metaCASE
2. Supporting method flexibility through metamodeling (30 min)
- metamodeling approaches
- types of metamodeling languages
- examples of metamodeling languages
- example metamodels
3. Requirements for a metaCASE environment (20 min)
- state of the art
- requirements for metaCASE
- review of available metaCASE tools
- example of a metaCASE tool
4. Case examples on method modeling and method integration (30 min)
- situation specific design methods
- method integration
- comparison of methods (UML & OPEN)
5. Implications for method use and development (20 min)
- to acceptance of CASE and other information system design environments
- to development of ISD methods
6. Future of metaCASE and metamodeling (15 min)
7. Concluding remarks (15 min)

Description and samples of material that will be included in tutorial notes: The tutorial notes includes copies of slides and related articles on metamodeling and method engineering. The slides also include metamodels as examples from a wide variety of ISD methods, such as UML, OPEN, SA&SD. The articles include:

Tolvanen, J.-P., Lyytinen, K., Flexible method adaptation in CASE - the metamodeling approach. Scandinavian Journal of Information Systems, Vol. 5, 1993, pp. 51-77.

Jarke, M., Pohl, K., Weidenhaupt, K., Lyytinen, K., Marttiin, P., Tolvanen, J.-P., Papazoglou, M., (1997) Metamodeling: A formal basis for interoperability and adaptability. In: Information Systems Interoperability (B. Kraemer, M. Papazoglou), John Wiley Research Science Press.

Marttiin, P., Rossi, M., Tahvanainen, V.-P., Lyytinen, K., A comparative review of CASE shells * a preliminary framework and research outcomes. Information & Management, 25, 1993, pp. 11-31.

Tolvanen, J.-P., Rossi, M., Liu, H., Method engineering: current research directions and implications for future research. In: Proceedings of the IFIP TC8 Working Conference on Method Engineering: Principles of method construction and tool support (eds. S.

Brinkkemper, K. Lyytinen, R. Welke) Chapman&Hall, Great Britain, 1996, pp. 296-317.

Marttiin, P., Lyytinen, K., Rossi, M., Tahvanainen, V.-P., Smolander, K., Tolvanen, J.-P., "Modeling Requirements for Future CASE: Modeling Issues and Architectural Consideration". Information Resources Management Journal, Vol 8, No, 1, 1995, pp, 15-25.

Requirements for running the tutorial: Overhead-projector, Computer with Windows (3.1, 95 or NT) connected to an external displaying device such as a video projector.

Juha-Pekka Tolvanen received his M.Sc. and Ph.Lic. from the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. He currently works as a principal researcher of the MetaPHOR project and he is also a board member of MetaCase Consulting Inc., which markets MetaEdit+. His area of expertise is on engineering of methods including specification and adaptation of business modeling and object-oriented methods. Related to the tutorial topic he has published papers on method engineering in several journals and conferences.

Juha-Pekka Tolvanen
Department of Computer Science and Information Systems
University of Jyvaskyla
P.O. Box. 35, 40351 Jyvaskyla, Finland
Tel.: +358 14 603 039, Fax: +358 14 603611
Internet: jpt@hyeena.jyu.fi

ISPA - This information last updated April 1998
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