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Industrial Case Study: Moving to Commercial Off-the-Shelf and Open-Source Software Usage in Telecommunications


This chapter provides those who are planning projects with insights into how to spot, quantify, and deal with controversial issues. Controversy in planning almost always revolves around risk. “Risk” in this sense is defined in terms of exposure to adverse effects, schedule delays, or cost excesses. Because risk can make change more difficult, it should be considered carefully. Once risk is quantified, the trick in risk management is to let the numbers do the talking. I have seldom seen management select the most costly option. In those rare situations where I have, there has been some urgent business reason like keeping an operation afloat until a new contract is negotiated or a takeover attempt has been consummated. In this case study, the really risky and difficult issues associated with COTS selection, tailoring, integration, and sustainability were not even brought to the table. The reason for this was simple. If I had raised these issues, this chapter would have taken too much space and still might not have provided a proper treatment. However, be careful with evaluating COTS solutions, and realize that they need to be handled carefully. When and if you do use COTS and open-source solutions, you’ll see why I provided you with a warning.