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  • 1.
    Barney, Sebastian
    et al.
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden; School of Information Systems, Technology and Management, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW, Australia.
    Mohankumar, Varun
    School of Information Systems, Technology and Management, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW, Australia.
    Chatzipetrou, Panagiota
    Department of Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloníki, Greece.
    Aurum, Aybüke
    School of Information Systems, Technology and Management, University of New South Wales, Sydney NSW, Australia.
    Wohlin, Claes
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden.
    Angelis, Lefteris
    Department of Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloníki, Greece.
    Software quality across borders: Three case studies on company internal alignment2014In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 56, no 1, p. 20-38Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: Software quality issues are commonly reported when offshoring software development. Value-based software engineering addresses this by ensuring key stakeholders have a common understanding of quality.

    Objective: This work seeks to understand the levels of alignment between key stakeholder groups within a company on the priority given to aspects of software quality developed as part of an offshoring relationship. Furthermore, the study aims to identify factors impacting the levels of alignment identified.

    Method: Three case studies were conducted, with representatives of key stakeholder groups ranking aspects of software quality in a hierarchical cumulative exercise. The results are analysed using Spearman rank correlation coefficients and inertia. The results were discussed with the groups to gain a deeper understanding of the issues impacting alignment.

    Results: Various levels of alignment were found between the various groups. The reasons for misalignment were found to include cultural factors, control of quality in the development process, short-term versus long-term orientations, understanding of cost-benefits of quality improvements, communication and coordination.

    Conclusions: The factors that negatively affect alignment can vary greatly between different cases. The work emphasises the need for greater support to align company internal success-critical stakeholder groups in their understanding of quality when offshoring software development.

  • 2.
    Borg, Markus
    et al.
    RISE Research Institutes of Sweden AB, Lund, Sweden.
    Chatzipetrou, Panagiota
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business. Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden.
    Wnuk, Krzysztof
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden.
    Alégroth, Emil
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden.
    Gorschek, Tony
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Karlskrona, Sweden.
    Papatheocharous, Efi
    RISE Research Institutes of Sweden AB, Lund, Sweden.
    Shah, Syed Muhammad Ali
    iZettle, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Axelsson, Jakob
    RISE Research Institutes of Sweden AB, Lund, Sweden.
    Selecting component sourcing options: A survey of software engineering's broader make-or-buy decisions2019In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 112, p. 18-34Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: Component-based software engineering (CBSE) is a common approach to develop and evolve contemporary software systems. When evolving a system based on components, make-or-buy decisions are frequent, i.e., whether to develop components internally or to acquire them from external sources. In CBSE, several different sourcing options are available: (1) developing software in-house, (2) outsourcing development, (3) buying commercial-off-the-shelf software, and (4) integrating open source software components.

    Objective: Unfortunately, there is little available research on how organizations select component sourcing options (CSO) in industry practice. In this work, we seek to contribute empirical evidence to CSO selection.

    Method: We conduct a cross-domain survey on CSO selection in industry, implemented as an online questionnaire.

    Results: Based on 188 responses, we find that most organizations consider multiple CSOs during software evolution, and that the CSO decisions in industry are dominated by expert judgment. When choosing between candidate components, functional suitability acts as an initial filter, then reliability is the most important quality.

    Conclusion: We stress that future solution-oriented work on decision support has to account for the dominance of expert judgment in industry. Moreover, we identify considerable variation in CSO decision processes in industry. Finally, we encourage software development organizations to reflect on their decision processes when choosing whether to make or buy components, and we recommend using our survey for a first benchmarking.

  • 3.
    Chatzipetrou, Panagiota
    et al.
    Department of Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.
    Papatheocharous, Efi
    Department of Computer Science, University of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus; Swedish Institute of Computer Science (SICS), Kista, Stockholm, Sweden.
    Angelis, Lefteris
    Department of Informatics, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.
    Andreou, Andreas S
    Department of Computer Engineering and Informatics, Cyprus University of Technology, Limassol, Cyprus.
    A multivariate statistical framework for the analysis of software effort phase distribution2015In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 59, p. 149-169Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: In software project management, the distribution of resources to various project activities is one of the most challenging problems since it affects team productivity, product quality and project constraints related to budget and scheduling.

    Objective: The study aims to (a) reveal the high complexity of modelling the effort usage proportion in different phases as well as the divergence from various rules-of-thumb in related literature, and (b) present a systematic data analysis framework, able to offer better interpretations and visualisation of the effort distributed in specific phases.

    Method: The basis for the proposed multivariate statistical framework is Compositional Data Analysis, a methodology appropriate for proportions, along with other methods like the deviation from rules-ofthumb, the cluster analysis and the analysis of variance. The effort allocations to phases, as reported in around 1500 software projects of the ISBSG R11 repository, were transformed to vectors of proportions of the total effort and were analysed with respect to prime project attributes.

    Results: The proposed statistical framework was able to detect high dispersion among data, distribution inequality and various interesting correlations and trends, groupings and outliers, especially with respect to other categorical and continuous project attributes. Only a very small number of projects were found close to the rules-of-thumb from the related literature. Significant differences in the proportion of effort spent in different phrases for different types of projects were found.

    Conclusion: There is no simple model for the effort allocated to phases of software projects. The data from previous projects can provide valuable information regarding the distribution of the effort for various types of projects, through analysis with multivariate statistical methodologies. The proposed statistical framework is generic and can be easily applied in a similar sense to any dataset containing effort allocation to phases.

  • 4.
    Junges, Robert
    et al.
    Örebro University, School of Science and Technology.
    Klügl, Franziska
    Örebro University, School of Science and Technology.
    Generating inspiration for agent design by reinforcement learning2012In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 54, no 6, p. 639-649Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    One major challenge in developing multiagent systems is to find the appropriate agent design that is able to generate the intended overall dynamics, but does not contain unnecessary features. In this article we suggest to use agent learning for supporting the development of an agent model during an analysis phase in agent-based software engineering. Hereby, the designer defines the environmental model and the agent interfaces. A reward function captures a description of the overall agent performance with respect to the intended outcome of the agent behavior. Based on this setup, reinforcement learning techniques can be used for learning rules that are optimally governing the agent behavior. However, for really being useful for analysis, the human developer must be able to review and fully understand the learnt behavior program. We propose to use additional learning mechanisms for a post-processing step supporting the usage of the learnt model.

  • 5.
    Karlsson, Fredrik
    et al.
    Örebro University, Department of Business, Economics, Statistics and Informatics.
    Ågerfalk, Pär
    Örebro University, Department of Business, Economics, Statistics and Informatics.
    Method configuration: adapting to situational characteristics while creating reusable assets2004In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 46, no 9, p. 619-633Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The world of systems engineering methods is changing as rigorous ‘off-the-shelf’ methods gain popularity. The need for configuration of such methods is increasing accordingly. In this paper, method configuration is treated as a kind of method engineering, focusing on adaptation of a base method. A meta-method based on the concepts of Configuration Packages and Configuration Templates is proposed. Configuration Packages are pre-made reusable configurations of a base method suitable for a specific characteristic of a development situation. Configuration Templates with different characteristics can be related to different Configuration Packages and used as a base for reaching a situational method efficiently. The paper presents experiences from two empirical studies in which the Method for Method Configuration was developed and validated. These studies indicate that this meta-method eases the burden of the method engineer in configuring a method for particular project characteristics. Specifically it helped in deciding what in the base method to omit and to make sure that omissions made were congruent with the overall situational method.

  • 6.
    Karlsson, Fredrik
    et al.
    Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business.
    Ågerfalk, Pär J.
    MC Sandbox: devising a tool for method-user-centered method configuration2012In: Information and Software Technology, ISSN 0950-5849, E-ISSN 1873-6025, Vol. 54, no 5, p. 501-516Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: Method engineering approaches are often based on the assumption that method users are able to explicitly express their situational method requirements. Similar to systems requirements, method requirements are often vague and hard to explicate. In this paper we address the issue of involving method users early in method configuration. This is done through borrowing ideas from user-centered design and prototyping, and implementing them on the method engineering layer. Objective: We design a computerized tool, MC Sandbox, to capture method requirements through the use of method-user-centered method configuration, hence bridging the gap between systems developers' and method engineers' understanding of and expectations on a situational method. Method: The research method adopted can be characterized as multi-grounded action research. Our implementation of multi-grounded action research follows the traditional 'canonical' action research method, which has cycles of diagnosing, action planning, action taking, evaluating, and specifying learning. The research project comprised three such action research cycles where 10 action cases were performed. Results: MC Sandbox has proven useful in eliciting and negotiating method requirements in a continuously ongoing dialog between the method users and the method engineers during configuration workshops. The results also show that the method engineer role rotated among the systems developers and that they were indeed committed to the negotiated methods during the systems development projects. Conclusion: It is possible for method users to actively participate and construct suitable situational methods if they are provided with appropriate high-level modelling concepts, such as method components, configuration packages and configuration templates. This way, the project members' understanding of the current development practice develops incrementally, both in terms of understanding the needs and available method support. In addition, both method requirements and commitments are made explicit, which are important aspects when working with method configuration from a collaboration point of view.

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