Documentation critical telecommunication system

The challenge

The constantly growing demands on the communication infrastructure result in large projects and rapidly changing challenges for telecommunication companies.

To prepare and implement new offers for end customers, Telekom uses the services of external development companies for hardware and software.

The internal cost engineering has the task of accompanying the ongoing projects from the planning phase with methodological knowledge in the area of planning and controlling project costs. This requires special know-how in the area of software development and project or scope management of IT projects in order to master the constantly growing complexity of development projects.

Due to long-term relationships with external development partners, it is also important to assess the cost development in relation to the delivered performance and quality and to develop effective methods in cost controlling.

The solution

Due to the desire to be able to understand the source code quantitatively and the requirements implemented in the system over the years, it was decided to carry out a reverse engineering project with an automated functional documentation of the programmed content and an inventory of the entire system.
In addition, a manual gap analysis was requested, which should provide an overview of the status quo of the software and an outlook on current and future challenges.

The project implementation

As part of a documentation project, the company Sysparency was commissioned to provide an inventory and assessment of the overall system regarding the functionality and nature of the source code. There should also be automated content restructuring and documentation of the software’s source code.
The size and complexity of the system were recorded using estimation methods and various software metrics and validated using benchmarking.
The inventory was carried out by sysparency and partly manually and provided, among other things, an overview of the protocols and interfaces used, the different divisions for programming and tests, as well as other relevant qualitative parameters.
The gap analysis analyzed the differences between Telekom software in contrast to standard and open source products. A detailed overview of the RFC standard used and their implemented attributions was created. In addition, specially defined modules of the supplier were identified. These results left a significant conclusion about the status quo of the software and could be used successfully for an initial market analysis as a comparison with other suppliers.
In a first phase, the automated documentation of interface and database representations began. In the course of the project, after regular coordination with the management, it was decided that a merger of the technical content-related topics of the gap analysis and the generated automated documentation would make the most sense in this phase and automatic documentation of all standard and telecom-specific attributes was implemented in the Source code made. In addition to the representation of this, a link was provided in the code to ensure quick navigation from the technical description to the technical solution.

Result

The project successfully mapped the entire system with an overview of the interfaces and the files and formats used. By means of a detailed measurement, it was possible to give an indication of previous efforts and an estimate of future efforts. The results also allowed a comparison with existing software on the current market. As part of the project, over 600 different attributes were automatically structured and re-documented from the source code and with a manual description from the manual.