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Does distributed development affect software quality? An empirical case study of Windows Vista


Bird, C; Nagappan, N; Devanbu, P; Gall, H C; Murphy, B (2009). Does distributed development affect software quality? An empirical case study of Windows Vista. In: 31st International Conference on Software Engineering, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 16 May 2009 - 24 May 2009, 518-528.

Abstract

It is widely believed that distributed software development is riskier and more challenging than collocated development. Prior literature on distributed development in software engineering and other fields discuss various challenges, including cultural barriers, expertise transfer difficulties, and communication and coordination overhead. We evaluate this conventional belief by examining the overall development of Windows Vista and comparing the post-release failures of components that were developed in a distributed fashion with those that were developed by collocated teams. We found a negligible difference in failures. This difference becomes even less significant when controlling for the number of developers working on a binary. We also examine component characteristics such as code churn, complexity, dependency information, and test code coverage and find very little difference between distributed and collocated components to investigate if less complex components are more distributed. Further, we examine the software process and phenomena that occurred during the Vista development cycle and present ways in which the development process utilized may be insensitive to geography by mitigating the difficulties introduced in prior work in this area.

It is widely believed that distributed software development is riskier and more challenging than collocated development. Prior literature on distributed development in software engineering and other fields discuss various challenges, including cultural barriers, expertise transfer difficulties, and communication and coordination overhead. We evaluate this conventional belief by examining the overall development of Windows Vista and comparing the post-release failures of components that were developed in a distributed fashion with those that were developed by collocated teams. We found a negligible difference in failures. This difference becomes even less significant when controlling for the number of developers working on a binary. We also examine component characteristics such as code churn, complexity, dependency information, and test code coverage and find very little difference between distributed and collocated components to investigate if less complex components are more distributed. Further, we examine the software process and phenomena that occurred during the Vista development cycle and present ways in which the development process utilized may be insensitive to geography by mitigating the difficulties introduced in prior work in this area.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper), refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Informatics
Dewey Decimal Classification:000 Computer science, knowledge & systems
Language:English
Event End Date:24 May 2009
Deposited On:11 Feb 2010 00:25
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:38
Publisher:IEEE
Series Name:Proceedings - International Conference on Software Engineering
Number:31
ISSN:0270-5257
ISBN:978-1-4244-3453-4
Additional Information:IEEE 31st International Conference on Software Engineering 2009, ICSE 2009 : May 16 - 24, 2009, Vancouver, Canada © 2009 IEEE. Personal use of this material is permitted. However, permission to reprint/republish this material for advertising or promotional purposes or for creating new collective works for resale or redistribution to servers or lists, or to reuse any copyrighted component of this work in other works must be obtained from the IEEE
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1109/ICSE.2009.5070550
Related URLs:http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/xpl/tocresult.jsp?isnumber=5070493&isYear=2009
http://portal.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1555065
https://www.zora.uzh.ch/25784/
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-25783

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