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Multi-Perspective Analysis of Software Development: a method and an Industrial Case Study

Emil Börjesson
Göteborg : Chalmers tekniska högskola, 2010. 29 s.
[Examensarbete på avancerad nivå]

In November 2009 a project was started between Chalmers University of Technology and a Swedish company developing safety critical software, in this report referred to as CompanyA. The goal of the project is to investigate and improve CompanyA's Verification and Validation practices. A large contributing factor to why the research project was started is because of a European project that will affect CompanyA’s market domain.
The study, from which the data for this report was taken, was conducted as a master thesis at CompanyA with the goal of producing a state-of-practice description of the company. The research design was based around an analytical method using an analytical matrix that was developed specifically for the study. The matrix consisting of two dimensions where the first dimension consists of the four BAPO aspects of Business, Architecture/Technology, Process and Organization. The second dimension of the matrix consists of three points in time, Past, Current and Future (PCF). The matrix was constructed in this way to allow collection and analysis of data from multiple perspectives as well as from a chronological perspective. The matrix provides a broad yet defined scope giving a good basis for practice oriented exploratory research. The analytical matrix can be used to structure the research in all aspects of a study, from the definition of research questions to result demonstration. Data elicitation was conducted using several different research methods, such as interviews, structured observation, document analysis, watercooler discussions and surveys. The methods were used in different stages of the study to triangulate the findings and increase the validity of the collected data.
The focus of this report is to describe the research design and the general methodology that was used during the study, primarily the BAPO/PCF analytical matrix, and to show its strengths and weaknesses through an industrial case study. By using the matrix it was possible to show how the company evolved over time in the BAPO aspects and to discuss how these changes are tied to each other. An example would be how the company’s expansion in the international market has affected the company’s processes and the process evolution. The methodology hence proved to be effective in finding information on a broad scale, which is beneficial for exploratory inductive research. The results from the industrial case study show that the methodology, with the analytical matrix at its core, is a powerful research tool for any exploratory empirical research within the domain of software engineering.

Nyckelord: Exploratory research, Research Methods, Software Engineering, BAPO, Analytical matrix, Chronological and Aspect oriented alignment, Safety critical software

Publikationen registrerades 2010-12-28. Den ändrades senast 2013-04-04

CPL ID: 131913

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