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Software start-ups through an empirical lens: Are start-ups snowflakes?
Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, Fakulteten för datavetenskaper, Institutionen för programvaruteknik.
2018 (engelsk)Inngår i: CEUR Workshop Proceedings / [ed] Wang X.,Munch J.,Suominen A.,Bosch J.,Jud C.,Hyrynsalmi S., CEUR-WS , 2018Konferansepaper, Publicerat paper (Fagfellevurdert)
Abstract [en]

Most of the existing research assume that software start-ups are “unique” and require a special approach to software engineering. The uniqueness of start-ups is often justified by the scarcity of resources, time pressure, little operating history, and focus on innovation. As a consequence, most research on software start-ups concentrate on exploring the start-up context and are overlooking the potential of transferring the best engineering practices from other contexts to start-ups. In this paper, we examine results from an earlier mapping study reporting frequently used terms in literature used to characterize start-ups. We analyze how much empirical evidence support each characteristic, and how unique each characteristic is in the context of innovative, market-driven, software-intensive product development. Our findings suggest that many of the terms used to describe startups originate from anecdotal evidence and have little empirical backing. Therefore, there is a potential to revise the original start-up characterization. In conclusion, we identify three potential research avenues for further work: a) considering shareholder perspective in product decisions, b) providing support for software engineering in rapidly growing organizations, and c) focusing on transferring the best engineering practices from other contexts to start-ups. © 2018 CEUR-WS. All rights reserved.

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
CEUR-WS , 2018.
Serie
CEUR Workshop Proceedings, ISSN 1613-0073
Emneord [en]
Engineering context, Software engineering, Start-ups, Boron compounds, Ecosystems, Engineering research, Silicon compounds, Tungsten compounds, Anecdotal evidences, Engineering practices, Further works, Mapping studies, Market driven, Potential researches, Time pressures, C (programming language)
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-17590Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85060578194OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-17590DiVA, id: diva2:1287505
Konferanse
1st International Workshop on Software-Intensive Business: Start-Ups, Ecosystems and Platforms, SiBW 2018, Espoo, Finland, 3 December 2018
Tilgjengelig fra: 2019-02-11 Laget: 2019-02-11 Sist oppdatert: 2019-09-26bibliografisk kontrollert
Inngår i avhandling
1. Software Engineering in Start-up Companies
Åpne denne publikasjonen i ny fane eller vindu >>Software Engineering in Start-up Companies
2019 (engelsk)Doktoravhandling, med artikler (Annet vitenskapelig)
Abstract [en]

Start-up companies have emerged as suppliers of innovation and software-intensive products. Small teams, lack of legacy products, experimental nature, and absence of any organizational processes enable start-ups to develop and market new products and services quickly. However, most start-ups fail before delivering any value. Start-up failures can be attributed to market factors, shortcomings in business models, lack of motivation, or self-destruction, among other reasons. However, inadequacies in product engineering precede any market or business-related challenges and could be a significant contributing factor to start-up failures. At the same time, state-of-the-art software engineering (SE) practices are often neglected by start-ups as inadequate. At the beginning of this work, SE in start-ups had attracted very little attention from researchers. Thus, there was no coherent view of SE state-of-practice in start-ups and no starting point for a focused investigation.

 

In this thesis, we explore how start-ups practice SE, what specific SE challenges should be addressed, and what new SE practices are needed to support the engineering of innovative software-intensive products and services.

 

A substantial part of this work is exploratory and aimed to explore SE state-of-practice in start-ups. Our initial findings suggest that start-ups overlook the best SE practices. Teams of a few people working on relatively experimental and straightforward software see no upside of following the best practices. However, late start-ups face substantial challenges as their teams grow, and products become more complex. The key difficulties concern installing adequate SE practices supporting collaboration, coordination of work, and management of accumulated technical debt. To support the evolution of engineering practices in start-ups, we propose the start-up progression model outlining engineering goals, common challenges, and useful practices with regards to the start-up life-cycle phases. Further findings suggest inadequate support for market-driven requirements engineering (MDRE). Specifically, on how to aggregate needs and wishes of a large and loosely defined set of stakeholders who may not be able to articulate their needs and expectations. To address this challenge, we propose a method for the identification and prioritization of data sources and stakeholders in MDRE. Analyzing SE context in start-ups and other organizations developing innovative and market-driven products, we have found many similarities. While start-ups have challenges, they do not appear to be unique. Thus, most start-up challenges can be addressed by transferring the best practices from other engineering contexts.

 

We conclude that there is a little need for start-up specific engineering practices. Best software engineering practices are relevant to address challenges in start-ups. The key engineering challenge in start-ups is the management of the evolution of SE practices to match the growing complexity of the product and the organization. Our work also highlights the need for better MDRE practices to support new market-driven product development in both start-ups and other types of organizations. 

sted, utgiver, år, opplag, sider
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2019
Serie
Blekinge Institute of Technology Doctoral Dissertation Series, ISSN 1653-2090 ; 12
Emneord
start-ups, software engineering, practices, models
HSV kategori
Identifikatorer
urn:nbn:se:bth-18694 (URN)978-91-7295-384-0 (ISBN)
Disputas
2019-12-16, J1516, Campus Grasvik, Karlskrona, 09:00 (engelsk)
Opponent
Veileder
Tilgjengelig fra: 2019-10-21 Laget: 2019-09-26 Sist oppdatert: 2019-11-05bibliografisk kontrollert

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