Positive and Negative Innovations in Software Engineering

Positive and Negative Innovations in Software Engineering

Capers Jones (Software Productivity Research LLC, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/jssci.2009040102
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The software engineering field has been a fountain of innovation. Ideas and inventions from the software domain have literally changed the world as we know it. For software development, we have a few proven innovations. The way software is built remains surprisingly primitive. Even in 2008 major software applications are cancelled, overrun their budgets and schedules, and often have hazardously bad quality levels when released. There have been many attempts to improve software development, but progress has resembled a drunkard’s walk. Some attempts have been beneficial, but others have been either ineffective or harmful. This article puts forth the hypothesis that the main reason for the shortage of positive innovation in software development methods is due to a lack of understanding of the underlying problems of the software development domain. A corollary hypothesis is that lack of understanding of the problems is due to inadequate measurement of quality, productivity, costs, and the factors that affect project outcomes.

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