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A rule-based model for customized risk identification and evaluation of task assignment alternatives in distributed software development projects

: Lamersdorf, Ansgar; Münch, Jürgen; Fernández-del Viso Torre, Alicia; Sánchez, Carlos Rebate; Heinz, Markus; Rombach, H. Dieter


Journal of software 24 (2012), Nr.6, S.661-675
ISSN: 2047-7481
ISSN: 2047-7473
Fraunhofer IESE ()
global software development; risk management; project planning; distributed software development

Distributed software development imposes new project risks that are very different from the ones in collocated development and are overlooked easily. At the same time, they depend to a large extent on project-specific characteristics. Therefore, new methods for identifying these risks in distributed projects have to be developed. This article presents a model for identifying these risks at the beginning of a project. The model systematically captures experiences from past projects in a set of logical rules describing how project characteristics influence typical risks in distributed development. Thus, it is able to assess risks individually for each project. In addition, the model can be used for evaluating different task assignment alternatives, which makes it possible to allocate tasks systematically. An instance of the model was developed by applying qualitative content analysis to 19 interviews with practitioners. An evaluation using expert interviews showed that the risks identified by the model matched the actual experiences in 81% of the cases; of these, 40% had not been regarded at project start.