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Incentive Compatible Mechanisms for Group Ticket Allocation in Software Maintenance Services

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4 Author(s)
Subbian, K. ; IBM India Software Lab, Bangalore ; Kannan, R. ; Gautam, R.K. ; Narahari, Y.

A customer reported problem (or trouble ticket) in software maintenance is typically solved by one or more maintenance engineers. The decision of allocating the ticket to one or more engineers is generally taken by the lead, based on customer delivery deadlines and a guided complexity assessment from each maintenance engineer. The key challenge in such a scenario is two folds, un-truthful (hiked up) elicitation of ticket complexity by each engineer to the lead and the decision of allocating the ticket to a group of engineers who will solve the ticket with in customer deadline. The decision of allocation should ensure individual and coalitional rationality along with coalitional stability. In this paper we use game theory to examine the issue of truthful elicitation of ticket complexities by engineers for solving ticket as a group given a specific customer delivery deadline. We formulate this problem as strategic form game and propose two mechanisms, (1) division of labor (DOL) and (2) extended second price (ESP). In the proposed mechanisms we show that truth telling by each engineer constitutes a dominant strategy Nash equilibrium of the underlying game. Also we analyze the existence of individual rationality (IR) and coalitional rationality (CR) properties to motivate voluntary and group participation. We use Core, solution concept from co-operative game theory to analyze the stability of the proposed group based on the allocation and payments.

Published in:

Software Engineering Conference, 2007. APSEC 2007. 14th Asia-Pacific

Date of Conference:

4-7 Dec. 2007