Values-first software engineering: research principles in practice

Maria Angela Ferrario, Will Simm, Adrian Ioan Gradinar, Stephen Forshaw, Marcia Tavares Abreu Smith, Ian Craig Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

35 Citations (Scopus)


The realization that software has a far reaching impact on politics, society and the environment is not new. However, only recently software impact has been explicitly described as `systemic' and framed around complex social problems such as sustainability. We argue that `wicked' social problems are consequences of the interplay between complex economical, technical and political interactions and their underlying value choices. Such choices are guided by specific sets of human values that have been found in all cultures by extensive evidence-based research. The aim of this paper is to give more visibility to the interrelationship between values and SE choices. To this end, we first introduce the concept of Values-First SE and reflect on its implications for software development. Our contribution to SE is embedding the principles of values research in the SE decision making process and extracting lessons learned from practice.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICSE '16 Proceedings of the 38th International Conference on Software Engineering Companion
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2016


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