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Experiences from Measuring Learning and Performance in Large-Scale Distributed Software Development
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering. Blekinge Institute of Technology. (SERL-Sweden)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7220-9570
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering. (SERL-Sweden)
Ericsson, SWE.
2016 (English)In: Proceedings of the 10th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, ACM Digital Library, 2016, article id 17Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Background: Developers and development teams in large-scale software development are often required to learn continuously. Organizations also face the need to train and support new developers and teams on-boarded in ongoing projects. Although learning is associated with performance improvements, experience shows that training and learning does not always result in a better performance or significant improvements might take too long.

Aims: In this paper, we report our experiences from establishing an approach to measure learning results and associated performance impact for developers and teams in Ericsson.

Method: Experiences reported herein are a part of an exploratory case study of an on-going large-scale distributed project in Ericsson. The data collected for our measurements included archival data and expert knowledge acquired through both unstructured and semi-structured interviews. While performing the measurements, we faced a number of challenges, documented in the form of lessons learned.

Results: We aggregated our experience in eight lessons learned related to collection, preparation and analysis of data for further measurement of learning potential and performance in large-scale distributed software development.

Conclusions: Measuring learning and performance is a challenging task. Major problems were related to data inconsistencies caused by, among other factors, distributed nature of the project. We believe that the documented experiences shared herein can help other researchers and practitioners to perform similar measurements and overcome the challenges of large-scale distributed software projects, as well as proactively address these challenges when establishing project measurement programs.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ACM Digital Library, 2016. article id 17
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-15187DOI: 10.1145/2961111.2962636ISBN: 978-1-4503-4427-2 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:bth-15187DiVA, id: diva2:1143810
Conference
International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, Ciudad Real, Spain
Funder
Knowledge FoundationAvailable from: 2017-09-22 Created: 2017-09-22 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Strategizing and Evaluating the Onboarding of Software Developers in Large-Scale Globally Distributed Legacy Projects
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Strategizing and Evaluating the Onboarding of Software Developers in Large-Scale Globally Distributed Legacy Projects
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: Recruitment and onboarding of software developers are essential steps in software development undertakings. The need for adding new people is often associated with large-scale long-living projects and globally distributed projects. The formers are challenging because they may contain large amounts of legacy (and often complex) code (legacy projects). The latters are challenging, because the inability to find sufficient resources in-house may lead to onboarding people at a distance, and often in many distinct sites. While onboarding is of great importance for companies, there is little research about the challenges and implications associated with onboarding software developers and teams in large-scale globally distributed projects with large amounts of legacy code. Furthermore, no study has proposed any systematic approaches to support the design of onboarding strategies and evaluation of onboarding results in the aforementioned context.

Objective: The aim of this thesis is two-fold: i) identify the challenges and implications associated with onboarding software developers and teams in large-scale globally distributed legacy projects; and ii) propose solutions to support the design of onboarding strategies and evaluation of onboarding results in large-scale globally distributed legacy projects.

Method: In this thesis, we employed literature review, case study, and business process modeling. The main case investigated in this thesis is the development of a legacy telecommunication software product in Ericsson.

Results: The results show that the performance (productivity, autonomy, and lead time) of new developers/teams onboarded in remote locations in large-scale distributed legacy projects is much lower than the performance of mature teams. This suggests that new teams have a considerable performance gap to overcome. Furthermore, we learned that onboarding problems can be amplified by the following challenges: the complexity of the product and technology stack, distance to the main source of product knowledge, lack of team stability, training expectation misalignment, and lack of formalism and control over onboarding strategies employed in different sites of globally distributed projects. To help companies addressing the challenges we identified in this thesis, we propose a process to support the design of onboarding strategies and the evaluation of onboarding results.

Conclusions: The results show that scale, distribution and complex legacy code may make onboarding more difficult and demand longer periods of time for new developers and teams to achieve high performance. This means that onboarding in large-scale globally distributed legacy projects must be planned well ahead and companies must be prepared to provide extended periods of mentoring by expensive and scarce resources, such as software architects. Failure to foresee and plan such resources may result in effort estimates on one hand, and unavailability of mentors on another, if not planned in advance. The process put forward herein can help companies to deal with the aforementioned problems through more systematic, effective and repeatable onboarding strategies.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Karlskrona: Blekinge Tekniska Högskola, 2017
Series
Blekinge Institute of Technology Doctoral Dissertation Series, ISSN 1653-2090 ; 9
National Category
Software Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:bth-15197 (URN)978-91-7295-343-7 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-11-03, Karlskrona, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Knowledge Foundation
Available from: 2017-09-25 Created: 2017-09-22 Last updated: 2018-01-13Bibliographically approved

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Britto, RicardoŠmite, Darja

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