School Seminar: Continuous software engineering in the development of software-intensive products. 16th November 2017


Continuous software engineering (CSE) has instigated academic debate regarding the rapid, parallel cycles of releasing software and customer experimentation. This approach, originating from Web 2.0 and the software-as-a-service domain, is widely recognised among software-intensive companies today. Earlier studies have indicated some challenges in the use of CSE, especially in the context of business-to-business and product-oriented, embedded systems development. Consequently, research must address more explicit definitions and theoretical models for analysing the prerequisites and organisational capabilities related to the use of CSE.

This dissertation investigates various approaches to conducting empirical evaluations related to CSE. The study aims to improve existing models of CSE and to empirically validate them in the context of software companies. The study also aims to accumulate knowledge regarding the use of CSE, as well as its impacts.

The case study method is applied for the collection and analysis of empirical data. Twenty-seven interviews are conducted at five companies. In addition, a systematic literature review is used to synthesise the empirical research on agile release engineering practices. Design science research is used to portray the model design and the evaluation process of this dissertation.
Three approaches for evaluating CSE are constructed: (1) LESAT for software focuses on enterprise transformation using an organisational self-assessment approach, (2) STH+ extends the “Stairway to Heaven” model and evaluates company practices with respect to evolutionary steps towards continuous experimentation-driven development, and (3) CRUSOE defines 7 key areas and 14 diagnostic questions related to the product-intensive software development ecosystem, strategy, architecture, and organisation, as well as their continuous interdependencies. 

This dissertation states the relevance of CSE in the context of product-intensive software development. However, more adaptations are anticipated in practices that involve business and product development stakeholders, as well as company external stakeholders.

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