Cross-factor analysis of software engineering practices versus practitioner demographics: An exploratory study in Turkey

Vahid Garousi*, Ahmet Coşkunçay, Onur Demirörs, Ali Yazici

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Context Understanding the types of software engineering practices and techniques used in the industry is important. There is a wide spectrum in terms of the types and maturity of software engineering practices conducted in each software team and company. Furthermore, it is important to understand the cross-factor relationship of software engineering practices and practitioner demographics including their companies and projects, e.g., is it the case that practitioners developing software for sectors such as military would utilize software size measurement approaches more, or use different software development methodologies, compared to practitioners developing software for other sectors?, and what kinds of practices are conducted by practitioners in small versus large companies? Objective Our objective is to get an understanding into the cross-factor correlation of various software engineering practices versus practitioner demographics including their companies and projects (e.g., target industry, size and work experience). Such an understanding will enable us to identify patterns and pinpoint special issues which should be studied and addressed in the context of each specific demographic (e.g., small versus large companies). Thus, we decided to conduct an exploratory study in this area and collected real industrial data in the context of Turkey which has a vibrant software industry. Method To achieve the above objective, we use the data from a recent Turkish-wide survey of software engineering practices which was systematically designed with 46 questions based on our past experience in the Canadian context and using the Software Engineering Body of Knowledge (SWEBOK). 202 practicing software engineers participated in the survey. We raise a set of 12 research questions about the cross-factor correlation of software engineering practices and practitioner demographics, and address them using statistical analysis. Results The exploratory study results reveal important and interesting findings about cross-factor relationship of software engineering practices and practitioner demographics. Among some of the most interesting findings are the followings: (1) By analyzing the trends, we were first surprised to see that as a practitioner gets more years of work experience, against what one would expect, s/he experiences more challenges in Software Development Life-Cycle (SDLC) phases and SE tasks; (2) Almost 55% of participants measure software size; (3) Agile/lean development is used the least (16%) by the participants working in the companies serving the military and defense sector; (4) Usage of waterfall is low among participants employed by small-sized companies whereas Agile/lean development is relatively popular among this class of participants; and (5) As company size increases, usage of spiral development slightly increases, whereas usage of extreme programming practices decreases. Conclusion The results of this exploratory study will be useful to software engineering professionals and researchers both in Turkey and world-wide by revealing the cross-factor relationship of software engineering practices versus practitioner demographics. The study raises several new research directions, e.g., (1) Why are not many practitioners using any size nor project estimation metrics and how these fundamental engineering approaches could be utilized more frequently?, (2) What are the best practices, success stories and challenging experiences in using SE tools?, and (3) Why is Agile/lean development is not popular in the military and defense sector and how these approaches could be utilized more frequently.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-73
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
Volume111
Early online date24 Sep 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Cross-factor analysis
  • Practitioner demographics
  • Software engineering practices

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Hardware and Architecture

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