“Studying the Human Side of Software Engineering” by Per Runeson from Lund University, Sweden.

Abstract: Software engineering is a socio-technical research subject, in which we study interplaying systems of humans and technology. This implies that it is hard to scope the studies and to isolate factors that really have effects on the phenomenon under study. What is related to the human, what depends on the technology, and what is the interplay? Still, researchers need to observe humans acting in some kind of context to understand and improve SE. Empirical studies in SE apply both qualitative and quantitative approaches, and each has its pros and cons, but perhaps not the ones we think of at a first thought. This talk focuses on contributions of qualitative and quantitative studies, and how we may synthesize SE knowledge from different types of studies. It further discusses challenges for researchers, primarily with a technical and engineering background, to address the human side of software engineering. Finally, it touches upon the possibly hardest aspect of the human side, namely communicating research findings to stakeholders, to help them make evidence-based decisions in SE.

Bio: Dr. Per Runeson is a professor of software engineering at Lund University, Sweden, head of the Department of Computer Science, and the leader of its Software Engineering Research Group (SERG) and the Industrial Excellence Center on Embedded Applications Software Engineering (EASE). His research interests include empirical research on software development and management methods, in particular for software testing and open innovation, and cross disciplinary topics on the digital society in collaboration with social science, humanities, law and business scholars. He has contributed significantly to software engineering research methodology by the books on case studies and experimentation in software engineering. He serves on the editorial boards of Empirical Software Engineering and Software Testing, Verification and Reliability, and is a member of several program committees.