Optimal Resource Allocation for Reducing Software Defects

Subodha Kumar

Texas A&M University - Mays Business School

Sid Sidhartha

Microsoft Corporation

16th Annual Workshop on Information Technolgies & Systems (WITS) Paper

Software patch management has now assumed tremendous significance and it directly affects the customer opinion about the quality and security of the released product. Hence, software vendors are forced to put in substantial amount of effort for servicing released products, and maintain a fairly regular patch release cycle. The right amount of effort becomes critical to balance the need of developing new products versus fixing old ones. In this paper, we use a control theoretic approach to study the problem of dynamically determining the optimal effort needed for software maintenance by evaluating the cost of finding and fixing bugs versus the cost associated with not releasing the patch. Since these costs are usually non-linear in practice, finding the optimal effort dynamically is non-trivial. Our results show that the initial quality of the released product is an important factor in formulating the optimal strategy. Based on our results, we provide several managerial insights that can be used by software vendors to efficiently allocate resources for software development and maintenance after the product is released.

Keywords: software maintenance, defects, patches, optimal control theory, dynamic optimization

JEL Classification: C61, D61

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Date posted: November 28, 2007  

Suggested Citation

Kumar, Subodha and Sidhartha, Sid, Optimal Resource Allocation for Reducing Software Defects. 16th Annual Workshop on Information Technolgies & Systems (WITS) Paper. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1026845 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1026845

Contact Information

Subodha Kumar (Contact Author)
Texas A&M University - Mays Business School ( email )
301-F Wehner
College Station, TX 77843-4218
United States
979-845-9629 (Phone)

Sid Sidhartha
Microsoft Corporation ( email )
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
United States
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