Studying Things that Go Wrong in Software Development [Probation Report]

Lopez, Tamara (2012). Studying Things that Go Wrong in Software Development [Probation Report]. Technical Report 2012/03; Department of Computing, The Open University.



Literature sources suggest that software dependability is achieved or not as a result of decisions and judgements made by people, working alone and together. However they cannot explain exactly how this happens. Is it true that faulty ideas lead to bugs? How does this happen? What do faulty ideas look like? Points of doubt? The research proposed here lies somewhere between the broad statements of anecdotal accounts and the narrowly focused goals of software engineering research in areas related to dependability. It will consider the cognitive and social factors that anecdotes suggest contribute to failure prone software. Like other empirical studies in software engineering, this research will develop a body of detailed evidence that may be used to improve software engineering practice. However, in contrast to both of these approaches, this research will trace specific, mistaken choices made within software initiatives. Similarly, it will address gaps in the empirical data by examining these mistakes in the context of work as it happens, and by focusing on the thoughts and behaviour of the people involved in software development.

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