The situational factors that affect the software development process: Towards a comprehensive reference framework
Clarke, Paul and O'Connor, Rory (2012) The situational factors that affect the software development process: Towards a comprehensive reference framework. Information and Software Technology, 54 (5). pp. 433-447. ISSN 0950-5849
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An optimal software development process is regarded as being dependent on the situational characteristics of individual software development settings. Such characteristics include the nature of the application(s) under development, team size, requirements volatility and personnel experience. However, no comprehensive reference framework of the situational factors affecting the software development process is presently available.
The absence of such a comprehensive reference framework of the situational factors affecting the software development process is problematic not just because it inhibits our ability to optimise the software development process, but perhaps more importantly, because it potentially undermines our capacity to ascertain the key constraints and characteristics of a software development setting.
To address this deficiency, we have consolidated a substantial body of related research into an initial reference framework of the situational factors affecting the software development process. To support the data consolidation, we have applied rigorous data coding techniques from Grounded Theory and we believe that the resulting framework represents an important contribution to the software engineering field of knowledge.
The resulting reference framework of situational factors consists of 8 classifications and 44 factors that inform the software process. We believe that the situational factor reference framework presented herein represents a sound initial reference framework for the key situational elements affecting the software process definition.
In addition to providing a useful reference listing for the research community and for committees engaged in the development of standards, the reference framework also provides support for practitioners who are challenged with defining and maintaining software development processes. Furthermore, this framework can be used to develop a profile of the situational characteristics of a software development setting, which in turn provides a sound foundation for software development process definition and optimisation.
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