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Software, IET

Issue 5 • Date October 2009

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Displaying Results 1 - 9 of 9
  • Evaluation and assessment in software engineering [Editorial]

    Page(s): 337 - 338
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (80 KB)  

    Software engineers find that experiments are difficult to perform. Furthermore, no experiment can be considered flawless no matter how well conducted. In this Special Issue the authors have addressed this problem as well as emphasising the need to undertake more empirical studies with discussing practical and methodological issues associated with evaluation. As so, all the papers in this Special Issue address software engineering aspects and evaluate them through various types of empirical studies ranging from experiments, replications of empirical studies, case studies, surveys, observational studies, field studies, systematic reviews. View full abstract»

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  • Empirical study of Sommerville and Sawyer's requirements engineering practices

    Page(s): 339 - 355
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (230 KB)  

    Practices in seven key areas from requirements engineering (RE) good practice guide are examined via in-depth interviews with ten Australian software development organisations. Our objective is to provide a better understanding of the relative perceived value of the RE practices investigated and to provide an initial assessment of the appropriateness of Sommerville and Sawyer's three classification levels. We used in-depth interviews as our main approach to collecting data. We assessed practices as either standardised use, normal use, used at the discretion of project manager or never used. We found that the single most standardised, or valuable, practice for 1) documentation, was making a business case of a project, for 2) elicitation, it was assessing system feasibility, 3) for analysis and negotiation, it was defining system boundaries, 4) for requirements description, it was to specify requirements quantitatively and to define standard templates for requirements, 5) for system modelling, it was to use a data dictionary, 6) for validation, it was to propose test cases, and 7) for management, it was to define a change management process. We suggest Sommerville and Sawyer's classification of basic, intermediate and advanced practices needs some reconsideration to bring his list into alignment with current industry practices. View full abstract»

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  • Software project initiation and planning - an empirical study

    Page(s): 356 - 368
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (272 KB)  

    This study describes a study of 14 software companies, on how they initiate and pre-plan software projects. The aim was to obtain an indication of the range of planning activities carried out. The study, using a convenience sample, was carried out using structured interviews, with questions about early software project planning activities. The study offers evidence that an iterative and incremental development process presents extra difficulties in the case of fixed-contract projects. The authors also found evidence that feasibility studies were common, but generally informal in nature. Documentation of the planning process, especially for project scoping, was variable. For incremental and iterative development projects, an upfront decision on software architecture was shown to be preferred over allowing the architecture to just `emerge`. There is also evidence that risk management is recognised but often performed incompletely. Finally appropriate future research arising from the study is described. View full abstract»

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  • Applying a reusable framework for software selection

    Page(s): 369 - 380
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (578 KB)  

    With increasing use of component-based development (CBD), the process for selecting software from repositories is a critical concern for quality systems development. As support for developers blending in-house and third party software, the context-driven component evaluation (CdCE) process provides a three-phase approach to software selection: filtering to a short list, functional evaluation and ranking. The process was developed through iterative experimentation on real-world data. CdCE has tool support to generate classifier models, shortlists and test cases as artefacts that provide for a repeatable, transparent process that can be reused as the system evolves. Although developed for software component selection, the CdCE process framework can be easily modified for other selection tasks by substituting templates, tools, evaluation criteria and/or repositories. In this article the authors describe the CdCE process and its development, the CdCE framework as a reusable pattern for software selection and provide a case study where the process is applied. View full abstract»

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  • Evaluating distributed inspection through controlled experiments

    Page(s): 381 - 394
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (291 KB)  

    Inspection methods can be classified according to their discipline and flexibility. The discipline concerns the formal aspect of an inspection method, whereas the flexibility is strongly related to the simplicity of organising and conducting a meeting. The majority of the available distributed inspection methods have a high level of discipline and flexibility as they are based on a well-defined process and the discussion among team members is easily organised and conducted. In this study the authors present two controlled experiments to evaluate the effectiveness and the efficacy of a distributed inspection process to discover defects within source code. In particular, the first experiment compares the distributed inspection method proposed to a disciplined but not flexible method (i.e. the Fagan's inspection process). In the second experiment the authors investigate differences between the same distributed inspection method and a flexible but not disciplined method (i.e. the pair inspection method). Data analysis reveals that more flexible methods require less time to inspect a software artefact, while the discipline level does not affect the inspection quality. View full abstract»

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  • Relationship between design patterns defects and crosscutting concern scattering degree: an empirical study

    Page(s): 395 - 409
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (365 KB)  

    Design patterns are solutions to recurring design problems, aimed at increasing reuse, code quality and, above all, maintainability and resilience to changes. Despite such advantages, the usage of design patterns implies the presence of crosscutting code implementing the pattern usage and access from other system components. When the system evolves, the presence of crosscutting code can cause repeated changes, possibly introducing defects. This study reports an empirical study, in which it is showed that, for three open source projects, the number of defects in design-pattern classes is in several cases correlated with the scattering degree of their induced crosscutting concerns, and also varies among different kinds of patterns. View full abstract»

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  • Cross-domain investigation of empirical practices

    Page(s): 410 - 421
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (177 KB)  

    The authors are seeking the best ways to employ evidence-based practices in software engineering research and practice so that the outcomes can inform practice and policy-making. The objective of this study is to investigate how other academic disciplines use evidence-based practices in order to help assess the guidelines that the authors have developed for conducting systematic literature reviews in software engineering. They undertook two studies to investigate how other domains used evidence-based practices. One used a questionnaire that was administered to a set of experts, and this was then followed up with a study that used semi-structured interviews to gain a deeper understanding. As a result, the authors have identified how a number of disciplines that experience similar empirical constraints to those that apply to software engineering employ and rank different forms of empirical data. In conclusion, the authors describe the resulting changes that they made to their systematic literature review guidelines and also identify some issues that this study raises for empirical software engineering. View full abstract»

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  • Investigating the use of chronological split for software effort estimation

    Page(s): 422 - 434
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (290 KB)  

    In previous studies, the authors investigated separately the use of two different types of chronological splits (project-by-project split and date-based split) for assigning projects to training sets and testing sets. The aim of this study is to compare the two types of chronological splits against each other, to see whether either leads to better prediction accuracy. Estimation models were built and evaluated using training and testing sets formed using project-by-project chronological splitting and date-based splitting using two different splitting dates. The authors used 906 projects from the ISBSG Release 10 repository. The authors found no significant differences between the accuracy of models built and evaluated with either of the different splitting methods. However, models built using later splitting dates were more accurate than models built using earlier splitting dates. Different accuracy with different splitting dates suggests that chronological splitting is useful. Therefore the authors recommend that training and testing sets should be formed with regard to chronology, and a date-based split appears sensible for researchers in this field. View full abstract»

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  • Preliminary study of sequence effects in judgment-based software development work-effort estimation

    Page(s): 435 - 441
    Save to Project icon | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (162 KB)  

    Software development effort estimates are often inaccurate. This study investigates to what degree and why the sequence in which we estimate software work affect the effort estimates. The results may be used to improve judgment-based software development effort estimation processes. Two controlled experiments were conducted. In the first experiment, software professionals were randomly allocated to the groups SMALL and LARGE. First, those in group SMALL estimated the most likely effort required to complete a small software development task and those in group LARGE the effort of a larger task. Then both groups estimated the effort of the same medium-sized task. The first estimate had a large impact on the subsequent. The second experiment aimed at a better understanding of the nature of sequence effects in effort estimation. This experiment suggests that it is the experience and knowledge activated in the previous task that matter, not the estimated value itself. In conclusion, more awareness of the importance of the estimation sequence may lead to more realistic effort estimates. In particular, it may be useful to avoid estimation of simple and small tasks just before larger and more complex tasks in situations where over-optimism is frequent. View full abstract»

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