AuthorsM. Jørgensen
EditorsW. Yulin and M. Othman
TitleMyths and Over-Simplifications in Software Engineering
AfilliationSoftware Engineering, Software Engineering
Publication TypeProceedings, refereed
Year of Publication2012
Conference NameProceedings of ICSCT
PublisherLecture Notes on Software Engineering

The software engineering discipline contains numerous myths and over-simplifications. Some of them may be harmless, but others may hamper evidence-based practices and contribute to a fashion- and myth-based software engineering discipline. In this article we give examples of software engineering myths and over-simplifications and discuss how they are created and spread. One essential mechanism of the creation and spread of myths and over-simplifications are, we argue, people's tendency towards searching for confirming and neglecting disconfirming evidence. We report from a study examining this tendency. The study demonstrated that the developers who believed in a positive effect of agile methods tended to interpret randomly generated (neutral) project data as evidence confirming the benefit of agile methods. For the purpose of supporting evidence-based practice and avoiding unwanted influence from myths and over-simplifications, we provide a checklist to be used to evaluate the validity of software engineering claims.

Citation KeySimula.simula.1496