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  • 1.
    Hyrynsalmi, Sami
    et al.
    Tampere University of Technology, FIN.
    Klotins, Eriks
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Unterkalmsteiner, Michael
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Gorschek, Tony
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Tripathi, Nirnaya
    University of Oulu, FIN.
    Pompermaier, Leandro Bento
    PUCRS—Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, BRA.
    Prikladnicki, Rafæl
    PUCRS—Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul, BRA.
    What is a minimum viable (video) game?: Towards a research agenda2018In: Lect. Notes Comput. Sci., Springer Verlag , 2018, Vol. 11195, p. 217-231Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The concept of ‘Minimum Viable Product’ (MVP) is largely adapted in the software industry as well as in academia. Minimum viable products are used to test hypotheses regarding the target audience, save resources from unnecessary development work and guide a company towards a stable business model. As the game industry is becoming an important business domain, it is not surprise that the concept has been adopted also in the game development. This study surveys how a Minimum Viable Game (MVG) is defined, what is reported in extant literature as well as present results from a small case study survey done to nine game development companies. The study shows that despite popularity of minimum viable games in the industrial fora, the presented views on the concept are diverged and there is lack of practical guidelines and research supporting game companies. This study points out research gaps in the area as well as calls for actions to further develop the concept and to define guidelines. © IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2018.

  • 2.
    Klotins, Erik
    et al.
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Unterkalmsteiner, Michael
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Gorschek, Tony
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Software engineering knowledge areas in startup companies: A mapping study2015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background – Startup companies are becoming important suppliers of innovative and software intensive products. The failure rate among startups is high due to lack of resources, immaturity, multiple influences and dynamic technologies. However, software product engineering is the core activity in startups, therefore inadequacies in applied engineering practices might be a significant contributing factor for high failure rates. Aim – This study identifies and categorizes software engineering knowledge areas utilized in startups to map out the state-of-art, identifying gaps for further research. Method – We perform a systematic literature mapping study, applying snowball sampling to identify relevant primary studies. Results – We have identified 54 practices from 14 studies. Although 11 of 15 main knowledge areas from SWEBOK are covered, a large part of categories is not. Conclusions – Existing research does not provide reliable support for software engineering in any phase of a startup life cycle. Transfer of results to other startups is difficult due to low rigor in current studies. © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015.

  • 3.
    Klotins, Eriks
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Software Engineering in Start-up Companies2019Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
    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. 

  • 4.
    Klotins, Eriks
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Software start-ups through an empirical lens: Are start-ups snowflakes?2018In: CEUR Workshop Proceedings / [ed] Wang X.,Munch J.,Suominen A.,Bosch J.,Jud C.,Hyrynsalmi S., CEUR-WS , 2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    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.

  • 5.
    Klotins, Eriks
    et al.
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Boeva, Veselka
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Computer Science.
    Wnuk, Krzysztof
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Unterkalmsteiner, Michael
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Gorschek, Tony
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    A collaborative method for identification and prioritization of data sources in MDREManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Requirements engineering (RE) literature acknowledges the importance of stakeholder identification early in the software engineering activities. However, literature overlooks the challenge of identifying and selecting the right stakeholders and the potential of using other inanimate requirements sources for RE activities for market-driven products.

    Market-driven products are influenced by a large number of stakeholders. Consulting all stakeholders directly is impractical, and companies utilize indirect data sources, e.g. documents and representatives of larger groups of stakeholders. However, without a systematic approach, companies often use easy to access or hard to ignore data sources for RE activities. As a consequence, companies waste resources on collecting irrelevant data or develop the product based on the input from a few sources, thus missing market opportunities.

    We propose a collaborative and structured method to support analysts in the identification and selection of the most relevant data sources for market-driven product engineering. The method consists of four steps and aims to build consensus between different perspectives in an organization and facilitates the identification of most relevant data sources. We demonstrate the use of the method with two industrial case studies.

    Our results show that the method can support market-driven requirements engineering in two ways: (1) by providing systematic steps to identify and prioritize data sources for RE, and (2) by highlighting and resolving discrepancies between different perspectives in an organization.

  • 6.
    Klotins, Eriks
    et al.
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Unterkalmsteiner, Michael
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Chatzipetrou, Panagiota
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Gorschek, Tony
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Prikladnicki, Rafael
    Tripathi, Nirnaya
    Bento Pompermaier, Leandro
    Use of Agile Practices in Start-upsManuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Context. Software start-ups have shown their ability to develop and launch in- novative software products and services. Small, motivated teams and uncertain project scope makes start-ups good candidates for adopting Agile practices.

    Objective. We explore how start-ups use Agile practices and what effects can be associated with the use of those practices.

    Method. We use a case survey to analyze 84 start-up cases and 56 Agile prac- tices. We apply statistical methods to test for statistically significant associa- tions between the use of Agile practices, team, and product factors.

    Results. Our results suggest that backlog, version control, refactoring, and user stories are the most frequently reported practices. We identify 22 associations between the use of Agile practices, team, and product factors. The use of Agile practices is associated with effects on source code and overall product quality. A teams’ positive or negative attitude towards best engineering practices is a significant indicator for either adoption or rejection of certain Agile practices. To explore the relationships in our findings, we set forth a number of propositions that can be investigated by future research.

    Conclusions. We conclude that start-ups use Agile practices, however without following any specific methodology. We identify the opportunity for more fine- grained studies into the adoption and effects of individual Agile practices. Start- up practitioners could benefit from Agile practices in terms of better overall quality, tighter control over team performance and resource utilization.

    The full text will be freely available from 2019-12-16 09:40
  • 7.
    Klotins, Eriks
    et al.
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Unterkalmsteiner, Michael
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Chatzipetrou, Panagiota
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Gorschek, Tony
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Prikladnicki, Rafael
    Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul, BRA.
    Tripathi, Nirnaya
    Oulun Yliopisto, Oulu, FIN.
    Pompermaier, Leandro Bento
    Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul, BRA.
    Exploration of technical debt in start-ups2018In: Proceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering, IEEE Computer Society , 2018, p. 75-84Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: Software start-ups are young companies aiming to build and market software-intensive products fast with little resources. Aiming to accelerate time-to-market, start-ups often opt for ad-hoc engineering practices, make shortcuts in product engineering, and accumulate technical debt. Objective: In this paper we explore to what extent precedents, dimensions and outcomes associated with technical debt are prevalent in start-ups. Method: We apply a case survey method to identify aspects of technical debt and contextual information characterizing the engineering context in start-ups. Results: By analyzing responses from 86 start-up cases we found that start-ups accumulate most technical debt in the testing dimension, despite attempts to automate testing. Furthermore, we found that start-up team size and experience is a leading precedent for accumulating technical debt: larger teams face more challenges in keeping the debt under control. Conclusions: This study highlights the necessity to monitor levels of technical debt and to preemptively introduce practices to keep the debt under control. Adding more people to an already difficult to maintain product could amplify other precedents, such as resource shortages, communication issues and negatively affect decisions pertaining to the use of good engineering practices. © 2018 ACM.

  • 8.
    Klotins, Eriks
    et al.
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Unterkalmsteiner, Michael
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Chatzipetrou, Panagiota
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Gorschek, Tony
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Prikladniki, Rafael
    Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul, BRA.
    Tripathi, Nirnaya
    Oulun Yliopisto, FIN.
    Pompermaier, Leandro Bento
    Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul, BRA.
    A progression model of software engineering goals, challenges, and practices in start-ups2019In: IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, ISSN 0098-5589, E-ISSN 1939-3520Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: Software start-ups are emerging as suppliers of innovation and software-intensive products. However, traditional software engineering practices are not evaluated in the context, nor adopted to goals and challenges of start-ups. As a result, there is insufficient support for software engineering in the start-up context. IEEE

  • 9.
    Klotins, Eriks
    et al.
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Unterkalmsteiner, Michael
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Gorschek, Tony
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Software Engineering Anti-Patterns in Start-Ups2019In: IEEE Software, ISSN 0740-7459, E-ISSN 1937-4194, Vol. 36, no 2, p. 118-126Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Software start-up failures are often explained with a poor business model, market issues, insufficient funding, or simply a bad product idea. However, inadequacies in software engineering are relatively unexplored and could be a significant contributing factor to the high start-up failure rate. In this paper we present the analysis of 88 start-up experience reports, revealing three anti-patterns associated with start-up progression phases. The anti-patterns address challenges of releasing the first version of the product, attracting customers, and expanding the product into new markets. The anti-patterns show that challenges and failure scenarios that appear to be business or market related are, at least partially, rooted in engineering inadequacies.

  • 10.
    Klotins, Eriks
    et al.
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Unterkalmsteiner, Michael
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Gorschek, Tony
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Software engineering in start-up companies: An analysis of 88 experience reports2019In: Journal of Empirical Software Engineering, ISSN 1382-3256, E-ISSN 1573-7616, Vol. 24, no 1, p. 68-102Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: Start-up companies have become an important supplier of innovation and software-intensive products. The flexibility and reactiveness of start-ups enables fast development and launch of innovative products. However, a majority of software start-up companies fail before achieving any success. Among other factors, poor software engineering could be a significant contributor to the challenges experienced by start-ups. However, the state-of-practice of software engineering in start-ups, as well as the utilization of state-of-the-art is largely an unexplored area. Objective: In this study we investigate how software engineering is applied in start-up context with a focus to identify key knowledge areas and opportunities for further research. Method: We perform a multi-vocal exploratory study of 88 start-up experience reports. We develop a custom taxonomy to categorize the reported software engineering practices and their interrelation with business aspects, and apply qualitative data analysis to explore influences and dependencies between the knowledge areas. Results: We identify the most frequently reported software engineering (requirements engineering, software design and quality) and business aspect (vision and strategy development) knowledge areas, and illustrate their relationships. We also present a summary of how relevant software engineering knowledge areas are implemented in start-ups and identify potentially useful practices for adoption in start-ups. Conclusions: The results enable a more focused research on engineering practices in start-ups. We conclude that most engineering challenges in start-ups stem from inadequacies in requirements engineering. Many promising practices to address specific engineering challenges exists, however more research on adaptation of established practices, and validation of new start-up specific practices is needed. © 2018 The Author(s)

  • 11.
    Klotins, Eriks
    et al.
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Unterkalmsteiner, Michael
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Gorschek, Tony
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Software-intensive product engineering in start-ups: a taxonomy2018In: IEEE Software, ISSN 0740-7459, E-ISSN 1937-4194, Vol. 35, no 4, p. 44-52Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Software start-ups are new companies aiming to launch an innovative product to mass markets fast with minimal resources. However a majority of start-ups fail before realizing their potential. Poor software engineering, among other factors, could be a significant contributor to the challenges experienced by start-ups.

    Very little is known about the engineering context in start-up companies. On the surface, start-ups are characterized by uncertainty, high risk and minimal resources. However, such characterization is not granular enough to support identification of specific engineering challenges and to devise start-up specific engineering practices.

    The first step towards understanding on software engineering in start-ups is definition of the Start-up Context Map - a taxonomy of engineering practices, environment factors and goals influencing the engineering process. Goal of the Start-up Context Map is to support further research on the field and to serve as an engineering decision support tool for start-ups. 

  • 12.
    Tripathi, Nirnaya
    et al.
    Oulun Yliopisto, M3S Research Group, FIN.
    Klotins, Eriks
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Prikladnicki, Rafael
    Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul, BRA.
    Oivo, Markku
    Oulun Yliopisto, M3S Research Group, FIN.
    Pompermaier, Leandro Bento
    Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul, BRA.
    Kudakacheril, Arun Sojan
    Oulun Yliopisto, M3S Research Group, FIN.
    Unterkalmsteiner, Michael
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Liukkunen, Kari
    Oulun Yliopisto, M3S Research Group, FIN.
    Gorschek, Tony
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    An anatomy of requirements engineering in software startups using multi-vocal literature and case survey2018In: Journal of Systems and Software, ISSN 0164-1212, E-ISSN 1873-1228, Vol. 146, p. 130-151Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Context: Software startups aim to develop innovative products, grow rapidly, and thus become important in the development of economy and jobs. Requirements engineering (RE) is a key process area in software development, but its effects on software startups are unclear. Objective: The main objective of this study was to explore how RE (elicitation, documentation, prioritization and validation) is used in software startups. Method: A multi-vocal literature review (MLR) was used to find scientific and gray literature. In addition, a case survey was employed to gather empirical data to reach this study's objective. Results: In the MLR, 36 primary articles were selected out of 28,643 articles. In the case survey, 80 respondents provided information about software startup cases across the globe. Data analysis revealed that during RE processes, internal sources (e.g., for source), analyses of similar products (e.g., elicitation), uses of informal notes (e.g., for documentation), values to customers, products and stakeholders (e.g., for prioritization) and internal reviews/prototypes (e.g., for validation) were the most used techniques. Conclusion: After an analysis of primary literature, it was concluded that research on this topic is still in early stages and more systematic research is needed. Furthermore, few topics were suggested for future research. © 2018 Elsevier Inc.

  • 13.
    Unterkalmsteiner, Michael
    et al.
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Abrahamsson, Pekka
    Wang, XiaoFeng
    Nguyen-Duc, Anh
    Shah, Syed
    Bajwa, Sohaib Shahid
    Baltes, Guido H.
    Conboy, Kieran
    Cullina, Eoin
    Dennehy, Denis
    Edison, Henry
    Fernandez-Sanchez, Carlos
    Garbajosa, Juan
    Gorschek, Tony
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Klotins, Eriks
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Hokkanen, Laura
    Kon, Fabio
    Lunesu, Ilaria
    Marchesi, Michele
    Morgan, Lorraine
    Oivo, Markku
    Selig, Christoph
    Seppänen, Pertti
    Sweetman, Roger
    Tyrväinen, Pasi
    Ungerer, Christina
    Yagüe, Agustin
    Software Startups: A Research Agenda2016In: e-Informatica Software Engineering Journal, ISSN 1897-7979, E-ISSN 2084-4840, Vol. 10, no 1, p. 89-123Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Software startup companies develop innovative, software-intensive products within limited timeframes and with few resources, searching for sustainable and scalable business models. Software startups are quite distinct from traditional mature software companies, but also from micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises, introducing new challenges relevant for software engineering research. This paper’s research agenda focuses on software engineering in startups, identifying, in particular, 70+ research questions in the areas of supporting startup engineering activities, startup evolution models and patterns, ecosystems and innovation hubs, human aspects in software startups, applying startup concepts in non-startup environments, and methodologies and theories for startup research. We connect and motivate this research agenda with past studies in software startup research, while pointing out possible future directions. While all authors of this research agenda have their main background in Software Engineering or Computer Science, their interest in software startups broadens the perspective to the challenges, but also to the opportunities that emerge from multi-disciplinary research. Our audience is therefore primarily software engineering researchers, even though we aim at stimulating collaborations and research that crosses disciplinary boundaries. We believe that with this research agenda we cover a wide spectrum of the software startup industry current needs.

  • 14.
    Unterkalmsteiner, Michael
    et al.
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Gorschek, Tony
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Feldt, Robert
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Klotins, Eriks
    Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Computing, Department of Software Engineering.
    Assessing Requirements Engineering and Software Test Alignment - Five Case Studies2015In: Journal of Systems and Software, ISSN 0164-1212, E-ISSN 1873-1228, Vol. 109, no C, p. 62-77Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The development of large, software-intensive systems is a complex undertaking that we generally tackle by a divide and conquerstrategy. Companies thereby face the challenge of coordinating individual aspects of software development, in particular betweenrequirements engineering (RE) and software testing (ST). A lack of REST alignment can not only lead to wasted effort but alsoto defective software. However, before a company can improve the mechanisms of coordination they need to be understood first.With REST-bench we aim at providing an assessment tool that illustrates the coordination in software development projects andidentify concrete improvement opportunities. We have developed REST-bench on the sound fundamentals of a taxonomy onREST alignment methods and validated the method in five case studies. Following the principles of technical action research, wecollaborated with five companies, applying REST-bench and iteratively improving the method based on the lessons we learned.We applied REST-bench both in Agile and plan-driven environments, in projects lasting from weeks to years, and staffed as largeas 1000 employees. The improvement opportunities we identified and the feedback we received indicate that the assessmentwas effective and efficient. Furthermore, participants confirmed that their understanding on the coordination between RE and STimproved.

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