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Frequently begged questions and how to answer them [software]

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1 Author(s)
Zvegintzov, N. ; Software Manage. Network, New York, NY, USA

Typical empirical questions about software and the software business include “How productive are programming teams?”, “What are the industry norms?”, “What are the best practices?”, and “How should I measure the productivity of a programming team?” These, and others like them, are frequently asked questions. I always answer these questions with a question. “What are you trying to decide?” People almost always ask empirical questions because they need to make decisions. These decisions are important, involving risk to human life and health, affecting economic and societal well-being, and determining the equitable and productive use of scarce resources. The questioners seem to feel-because the questions are so frequently asked and the answers so often provided-that the answers must be widely known, but in looking at the answers, I observe the same pattern repeatedly. Answers that seemed well-known and widely supported turn out to be only widely proliferated. They are based on one or two sources, which often prove thin and unreliable. They are “transparency facts”, copied from presentation to presentation. When confronted with such questions, the questioners have no time to research the answers, so they grab whatever answers are at hand. Thus, many frequently asked questions about software are more truly frequently begged questions

Published in:

Software, IEEE  (Volume:15 ,  Issue: 2 )

Date of Publication:

Mar/Apr 1998

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