Building and evaluating a web-based tool for software benefits estimation and management (1-2 theses)

To help IT professionals optimize the value for stakeholders, you will develop a set of easy-to-use tool for estimating and monitoring how much potential benefit a system under development will produce. You will design the tool based on recent theoretical results, and you will test and evaluate the tool with actual software professionals.
Master

The purpose of developing IT systems is (usually) based on a vision that the system will provide benefit for users and other stakeholders. Billions of NOK go into systems development, but benefits are often not realized. This brings on conflicts and frustration that value for money was not delivered.

Benefits management is a field of study that has addressed this problem. It can be argued, however, that this has not really helped. There are a lot of good ideas and suggestions on how to think about benefits, but this leaves people in the dark as to what to actually do in practice to ensure that benefits are realized.

Recently, a set of techniques for estimating and monitoring benefit potential was developed at Simula Metropolitan. The techniques are designed for an agile setting and are inspired by methods such as planning poker, burn-down charts, earned value management, etc.; except that they are for benefit rather than cost. What is missing is a comprehensive web-based tool that integrates all these techniques in a work flow.

The mission of this masters thesis, should you choose to take it, is to develop this tool and then to evaluate it.

Goal

The goal is to integrate techniques for benefits management into a work flow-based tool. Through designing and testing this tool with IT professionals, you will gain insight into how the tool, and the techniques themselves, might be refined to function better. The ultimate goal is to get IT professionals to use the benefits management techniques via your brilliant tool.

Learning outcome

You will learn a lot about benefits estimation and monitoring in agile software development. This is a hot topic at the moment. You will also learn how to conduct empirical studies on IT professionals and how to measure their performance. Finally, you will learn how to write well, and will probably submit a paper to a conference.

Qualifications

You must know both front-end and back-end programming, and be able to experiment with various ways of presenting data for users in modern web-based user interfaces.

Supervisors

  • Jo Erskine Hannay (Simula Metropolitan)

Collaboration partners

  • Simula Metropolitan Center For Digital Engineering AS
  • Verdix AS

References

J. E. Hannay, H. C. Benestad, and K. Strand. Benefit points—the best part of the story. IEEE Software, 34(3):73–85, 2017.

J. E. Hannay, H. C. Benestad, and K. Strand. Earned business value management—see that you produce value to your customer. IEEE Software, 34(4):58–70, 2017.

J. E. Hannay, H. C. Benestad, and K. Strand. Agile uncertainty assessment—for your points-based metrics. IEEE Software 36(4): 50-62, 2019.

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