Handling Uncertainty in Software Projects - A Controlled Experiment

J. Pinggera

Master's thesis, University of Innsbruck, Institute of Computer Science, 2009.

Abstract. Handling uncertainty is essential for the success of software development projects. Literature suggest that especially agile approaches to software development are well suited for highly volatile environments, as they provide means for dealing with uncertainty. Unfortunately, empirical evidence investigating the influence of unforeseen changes on the success of software development projects, is still rare. This thesis thesis picks up this demand and investigates the influence of unforeseen events on software development projects. As the comparison of real software projects is rather time and cost intensive a simulator deploying a journey as metaphor for software development projects has been implemented, which was utilized by students for planning journeys as part of a controlled experiment. The gathered data clearly indicates that the outcome of software development projects, measured as business value, is negatively affected by unforeseen changes. In turn, the question whether events have a negative influence on the overall success of a journey (measured as the implementation of all essential features) remained inconclusive due to the limited number of participants.

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Jakob Pinggera