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A Game-Theoretic Approach to Software Process Improvement

Gavidia-Calderon, Carlos; (2020) A Game-Theoretic Approach to Software Process Improvement. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

There is a plethora of software development practices. Practice adoption by a development team is a challenge by itself. This makes software process improvement very hard for organisations. I believe a key factor in successful practice adoption is proper incentives. Wrong incentives can lead a process improvement effort to failure. I propose to address this problem using game-theory. Game theory studies cooperation and conflict. I believe its use can speed the development of effective software processes. I surveyed game-theory applications to software engineering problems, showing the potential of this technique. By using game-theoretic models of software development practices, we can verify if the behaviour at equilibrium converges towards team cooperation. Modern software development is performed by large teams, working multiple iterations over long periods of time. Classic game representations do not scale well to model such scenarios, so abstraction is needed. In this thesis, I propose GTPI (game-theoretic process improvement), a software process improvement approach based on empirical game-theoretic analysis (EGTA) abstractions. EGTA enables the production of software process models of manageable size . I use GTPI to address technical debt, modelling developers that prefer quick and cheap solutions instead of high-quality time-consuming fixes. I have also approached bug prioritisation with GTPI, proposing the assessor-throttling prioritisation process, and developing a tool to support its adoption.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: A Game-Theoretic Approach to Software Process Improvement
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Copyright © The Author 2020. Original content in this thesis is licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) Licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). Any third-party copyright material present remains the property of its respective owner(s) and is licensed under its existing terms. Access may initially be restricted at the author’s request.
Keywords: Software Process, Game Theory, Technical Debt, Priority Inflation
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10106595
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