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From myths and fashions to evidence-based software engineering

The software engineering discipline contains numerous myths and over-simplifications. Some of them may be harmless, but others may lead to inefficient practices and contribute to a fashion- and myth-based software engineering discipline. In this presentation I give examples of software engineering myths and over-simplifications, discuss how they are created and spread and illustrate how it is possible to base important software engineering decision and practice on available evidence from research, practice and own empirical studies. A move towards evidence-based software engineering requires that software professionals become more critical towards claims, know how to formulate answerable questions, collect and evaluate evidence and use evidence to guide important decisions. This requires training and, not least, a change in mindset. Results on how to do this are presented.

Magne Jørgensen

Magne Jørgensen is a professor in software engineering at Simula Research Laboratory and University of Oslo. He conducts research and advisory work on software cost estimation, software contracts, software offshoring and other IT management-related topics. This year he received the ACM SIGSOFT influential paper award for his work on evidence-based software engineering.