Group Decision Making in Software Architecture


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How group decisions are made by architects?
We run a study with a number of practitioners trying to understand how group decision making is done by architects.
This presentation summarizes some of the results presented at the WICSA 2014 conference on Software Architecture (

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Group Decision Making in Software Architecture

  1. 1. Università degli Studi dell’Aquila A Study on Group Decision-Making in Software Architecture Smrithi Rekha V. Amrita Vishwa, Vidyapeetham, India Henry Muccini, Ph.D. University of L’Aquila, Italy @muccinihenry, Presented @ WICSA 2014, Sydney, Australia
  2. 2. 2 Multiple stakeholders are involved Each with different concerns and goals Decision Making Tech. Stakeh olders Custo mers … … Busin ess Final User Archite cts 42010:2011 SA decision-making is a group process
  3. 3. 3 SA results from a Group Decision Making (GDM) process While methods and tools have been proposed to record ADD and their rationale More can be done for handling GDM in Software Architecture
  4. 4. 4 Three decades of research on group decision making in the business domain GDM Research Perspectives Processes and Methods Impact of factors like size, diversity, roles, tasks Challenges Comparative Studies: Various methods, Individual vs Group Issues: Groupthink, Group Shift Conflict Resolution Process Enhancement Pros and Cons GDM has been studied from multiple perspectives that includes Psychology, Organizational Behavior, Operations Research and Economics Picture taken from
  5. 5. 5 how practitioners make group decisions in architecting software systems how state of the practice GDM in SA relates to state-of-the-art GDM techniques challenges companies face when making architecture-related group decisions To understand RQ1 RQ2 RQ3
  6. 6. 6 Online questionnaire 38 questions Q1-Q14: personal and company info Q15-Q25: undertaken SA group decision-making process Q26-Q31: SOTP vs SOTA SA GDM process in industry and methods available in literature Q32-Q36: challenges 30 respondents 23 practitioners involved in SA GDM 7 academics knowning about SA GDM in industry
  7. 7. 64% architects 21% sw development 15% top management 3-16 years of experience  5-10 people involved in decision making  21 different macro- roles represented  80%-20% distributed- colocated  Distributed:  54% uses only synch comm. media  4% asynch only  50% uses tools to support the ADD process 7 MAIN FINDINGS (1/3)
  8. 8.  Drivers: time, cost and quality  Decision pattern: group discussion -> if no agreement, a leader/small group decides (35%)  57% uses a mix of GDM methods Stakeholders are given different priority: seniority (55%), business, political and technological factors (25%), individuals (10%) 8 MAIN FINDINGS (2/3) how practitioners arrive at a consensus
  9. 9. Conflicts: may occur due to  socio-cultural reasons  technical reasons  cost 9 MAIN FINDINGS (3/3) GroupThink appears evident!! arriving at consensus becomes more important than individual opinions
  10. 10.  Time-bounded decisions  Improved documentations  Tool support improvement  Peculiarities of GDM in SA  Exploring into causes and possible mitigation strategies for GDM issues  metrics for group decision quality  … C. Miesbauer and R. Weinreich @ECSA 2013 D. Tofan, M. Galster, and P. Avgeriou @ ECSA 2013 Shahin, Liang, Khayyambashi, @WIC SA/ECSA 2009 M. Nowak and C. Pautasso @ WICSA 2012 T. Al-Naeem, I. Gorton, M. Babar, F. Rabhi, and B. Benatallah @ICSE 2005 10
  11. 11. If you are interested to this research, please 11 Stop by after the presentation Contact me at Tweet @muccinihenry Skype me at henry.muccini Call me 