Collaborative UML Development

Tight product delivery schedules, complex development environments, and dispersed development teams are forcing organizations to, increasingly, adopt model-driven practices using UML (unified modeling language)-compliant modeling tools to enable faster and more efficient development of complex systems. Beginning the development process with a solid design architecture has payoffs, not only in terms of productivity, but also in terms of project management ó a clear design architecture that all members of the development team can work from improves communication and provides a clear understanding of the design goals for the project.

The need to manage an increasingly complex development tools infrastructure, and include the widening number of participants in the development process, has brought renewed focus to life-cycle development tools.While the benefits of streamlining the development process have long been understood conceptually, the current economic climate makes the case for adopting tighter collaborative development tools and practices a far more compelling from a business perspective.

New development processes and practices are emerging to enable more effective collaborative development. Collaborative techniques born out of the open source development community are moving over to the corporate world and beginning to be adopted. The open source movement is as much philosophical as it is technical ó it opens up the process of development, gives developers greater involvement in the overall process, and provides collaborative tools that enable them to share their expertise.The collaborative practices common to open source development promote reuse and provide a means to capture and store information so that itís easily accessible by communities of developers.

While the value of UML-based application modeling is well understood, the perception of UML tools as being difficult to use has been an inhibitor to mainstream adoption. While UML modeling tools have continued to evolve in terms of ease-of-use, the ability to conduct modeling within a collaborative setting can provide greater accessibility to a wider set of users. The collaborative model facilitates knowledge transfer and skills exchange across the development team,enabling developers who may be new to UML development to easily tap into the teamís collective expertise.

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