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Wide Adoption for UML Techniques

 
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In 1997, the Object Management Group (OMG) made the UML a standard modelling language for object-oriented applications. Since then, it has been seen as the dominant set of techniques for software analysis and design. So one might think that UML is widely adopted by software development organisations. In a recent poll, the Methods & Tools newsletter asked the following question: at what stage is the adoption of UML modelling techniques (use case, class, object, sequence diagrams) at your location?

Not aware ......................................................7%
Not using .....................................................18%
Investigating .................................................12%
Analysed and rejected ......................................... 4%
Pilot projects .................................................4%
Partial implementation (adoption of some UML techniques) ......25%
Partial deployment (some projects are using UML) ..............14%
Deployed (all new projects are using UML) .....................16%

Participants: 427

Despite being the dominant techniques in the literature and being offered by a majority of modelling tools editors, UML is still ignored by some organisations. Nevertheless the adoption rate is very high. Around 50% of the participants told us that their organisation has adopted, totally or partially, the UML techniques. Around 16% are investigating it or conducting pilot project and only 4% of participants said that the UML techniques have been rejected after analysis.

On the other hand, these results are not so surprising if you consider the lack of competition. Before the merge between OMT, Booch and Objectory, the object oriented modelling space saw the activity of other contributors like Coad, Yourdon or Schlaer & Mellor. I do not see this kind of competition today. This could also be explained by the fact that the OMG is providing a process for UML's evolution as an open standard. The current discussions are now more on the processes themselves with the emergence of the agile methods. In many agile approaches, the analysis and design phase should limit the usage of modelling techniques. Requirements are defined by a close relationship between users and developers working with a prototype-like mode created by short delivery iterations.

Source: Methods & Tools, www.methodsandtools.com
 
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I see UML skills required on many job postings. But at work I see a thousand times more PowerPoint boxes and arrows than any UML. It's unfortunate; you never know if the arrow points in the direction of dependency, data flow or some other thing they made up. Proper UML would be better in many cases, but it's pretty fussy to write up and doesn't look as flashy as 3D shading and drop shadows in PPT.
 
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UML mis-understanding:
Computer Weekly, a UK IT magazine, ran an correction this week. The previous week they had described UML as "Universal Markup Language".

I see UML skills required on many job postings.


This week I've seen an advert for MI5 - "Structured development methodologies (e.g. UML), ...". Tend to see a lot af adverts like this.

Before the merge between OMT, Booch and Objectory

- Can someone tell me if Jacobson's method was called OOSE or Objectory?

I would like to know how many companies, are still hacking away, using no methodlogy / method, and a tunnel lifecycle.. I know one company, oh bugger; I work for them!!!
 
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Several things:
1. Jacobson's method was called Objectory. The book was OOSE.
2. There is far more to modeling than just the UML (not that the OMG folks like to admit this, perhaps if they were to eat their own dog food and develop a use case model for software development they'd see the gaping holes in their work. See Be Realistic About the UML.
3. I suspect that these results are biased, and that the adoption rate is much higher. The reason why I'm saying this is that many organizations relate modeling to CASE tool usage, therefore if they're not using a tool they're not modeling. A perfect example of this happened at OOPSLA 2003. I was on an MDA panel and asked the audience how many people modeled on projects, and about half stuck up their hands. About ten minutes later I asked the audience how many people sketched on whiteboards, and virtually everyone raised their hand. They in fact were modeling, but because they were doing it on whiteboards instead of an expensive CASE tool they didn't consider it to be official modeling. Similarly, do you think the people doing "Powerpoint Modeling" would claim that they're doing UML (even though they might be)?

- Scott
 
Peter Rooke
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1. Jacobson's method was called Objectory. The book was OOSE.


- Thank you.
 
Stan James
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Objectory was a modeling software product as well. We used it briefly before Rose, and were very relieved to switch to anything that wasn't Objectory.
 
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