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Analyzing Uncertainty in Release Planning: A Method and Experiment for Fixed-Date Release Cycles

Oni, O; Letier, E; (2021) Analyzing Uncertainty in Release Planning: A Method and Experiment for Fixed-Date Release Cycles. ACM Transactions on Software Engineering and Methodology , 31 (2) , Article 24. 10.1145/3490487. Green open access

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Abstract

Release planning—deciding what features to implement in upcoming releases of a software system—is a critical activity in iterative software development. Many release planning methods exist, but most ignore the inevitable uncertainty in estimating software development effort and business value. The article’s objective is to study whether analyzing uncertainty during release planning generates better release plans than if uncertainty is ignored. To study this question, we have developed a novel release planning method under uncertainty, called BEARS, that models uncertainty using Bayesian probability distributions and recommends release plans that maximize expected net present value and expected punctuality. We then compare release plans recommended by BEARS to those recommended by methods that ignore uncertainty on 32 release planning problems. The experiment shows that BEARS recommends release plans with higher expected net present value and expected punctuality than methods that ignore uncertainty, thereby indicating the harmful effects of ignoring uncertainty during release planning. These results highlight the importance of eliciting and analyzing uncertainty in software effort and value estimations and call for increased research in these areas.

Type: Article
Title: Analyzing Uncertainty in Release Planning: A Method and Experiment for Fixed-Date Release Cycles
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1145/3490487
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1145/3490487
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
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/10141460
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