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Toward a Theory of Debiasing Software Development

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Publication date2011
Host publicationResearch in Systems Analysis and Design: Models and Methods 4th SIGSAND/PLAIS EuroSymposium 2011, Gdańsk, Poland, September 29, 2011, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsStanislaw Wrycza
Place of PublicationBerlin
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-642-25676-9
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-25675-2
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Publication series

NameLecture Notes in Business Information Processing
ISSN (Print)1865-1348
ISSN (Electronic)1865-1356


Despite increasingly sophisticated programming languages, software developer training, testing tools, integrated development environments and project management techniques, software project failure, abandonment and overrun rates remain high. One way to address this is to focus on common systematic errors made by software project participants. In many cases, such errors are manifestations of cognitive biases. Consequently this paper proposes a theory of the role of cognitive biases in software development project success. The proposed theory posits that such errors are mutual properties of people and tasks; they may therefore be avoided by modifying the person-task system using specific sociotechnical interventions. The theory is illustrated using the case of planning poker, a task estimation technique designed to overcome anchoring bias.