Friday, June 19, 2009

Interesting article on risk management in software development

In keeping with our agile development, I came across M. Jorgensen's article (direct link to pdf).

Software professionals are, on average, over-optimistic about the required effort usage and the success probability of software development projects. This paper hypothesizes that common risk analysis processes may contribute to this over-optimism and over-confidence. Evidence from four experiments with software professionals, together with research in other domains, supports this hypothesis. The results of the experiments imply that in some situations more risk analysis leads to over-optimism and over-confidence, instead of the intended improvement of realism. Possible explanations of this counter-intuitive finding relate to results from cognitive science on “illusion-of-control,” “cognitive accessibility,”, “the peak-end rule” and “risk as feeling.”. The results suggest that it matters how risk analysis and effort estimation processes are combined. An approach is presented that is designed to avoid an increase in optimism and confidence with more risk analysis.

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