Evidence-Based Decision Making in Lean Software Project Management

B. Fitzgerald, M. Musiał and K. Stol (2014) Evidence-Based Decision Making in Lean Software Project Management, 36th International Conference on Software Engineering (Software Engineering in Practice track), Hyderabad, India

Many professions evolve from their origins as a creative craft process to a more product-centered industrial process. Software development is on such an evolutionary trajectory. A major step in this evolution is the progression from ad hoc to more rigorous evidence-based decision-making in software development project management. This paper extends theory and practice in relation to lean software development using such an evidence-based approach. Based on a comprehensive dataset of software development metrics, gathered in a longitudinal case study over a 22-month period, the Erlang-C model is used to analyze different software development parameters and to guide management decision-making in relation to development resources. The analysis reveals how ‘gut-feel’ and intuition can be replaced by evidence-based decision-making, and reveals how incorrect assumptions can underpin decisions which as a consequence do not achieve the desired outcome.