Temporal Discounting in Software Engineering

A Replication Study

Fabian Fagerholm, Christoph Becker, Alexander Chatzigeorgiou, Stefanie Betz, Leticia Duboc, Birgit Penzenstadler, Rahul Mohanani, Colin C. Venters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Background: Many decisions made in Software Engineering practices are intertemporal choices: trade-offs in time between closer options with potential short-term benefit and future options with potential long-term benefit. However, how software professionals make intertemporal decisions is not well understood. Aim: This paper investigates how shifting time frames influence preferences in software projects in relation to purposefully selected background factors. Method: We investigate temporal discounting by replicating a questionnaire-based observational study. The replication uses a changed-population and -experimenter design to increase the internal and external validity of the original results. Results: The results of this study confirm the occurrence of temporal discounting in samples of both professional and student participants from different countries and demonstrate strong variance in discounting between study participants. We found that professional experience influenced discounting. Participants with broader professional experience exhibited less discounting than those with narrower experience. Conclusions: The results provide strong empirical support for the relevance and importance of temporal discounting in SE and the urgency of targeted interdisciplinary research to explore the underlying mechanisms and their theoretical and practical implications. The results suggest that technical debt management could be improved by increasing the breadth of experience available for critical decisions with long-term impact. In addition, the present study provides a methodological basis for replicating temporal discounting studies in software engineering.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 13th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement
Subtitle of host publicationESEM 2019
PublisherIEEE
Pages1-12
Number of pages12
ISBN (Electronic)9781728129686
ISBN (Print)9781728129693
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2019
EventACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement - Hotel Armação, Porto de Galinhas, Brazil
Duration: 19 Sep 201920 Sep 2019
http://eseiw2019.com/esem/

Publication series

NameInternational Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement
Volume2019-Septemer
ISSN (Print)1949-3770
ISSN (Electronic)1949-3789

Conference

ConferenceACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement
Abbreviated titleESEM 2019
CountryBrazil
CityPorto de Galinhas
Period19/09/1920/09/19
Internet address

Fingerprint

Software engineering
Students

Cite this

Fagerholm, F., Becker, C., Chatzigeorgiou, A., Betz, S., Duboc, L., Penzenstadler, B., ... Venters, C. C. (2019). Temporal Discounting in Software Engineering: A Replication Study. In Proceedings of the 13th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement : ESEM 2019 (pp. 1-12). [8870161] (International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement; Vol. 2019-Septemer). IEEE. https://doi.org/10.1109/ESEM.2019.8870161
Fagerholm, Fabian ; Becker, Christoph ; Chatzigeorgiou, Alexander ; Betz, Stefanie ; Duboc, Leticia ; Penzenstadler, Birgit ; Mohanani, Rahul ; Venters, Colin C. / Temporal Discounting in Software Engineering : A Replication Study. Proceedings of the 13th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement : ESEM 2019. IEEE, 2019. pp. 1-12 (International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement).
@inproceedings{c4b3408e0fc44260a45e55e2fbb0a8b4,
title = "Temporal Discounting in Software Engineering: A Replication Study",
abstract = "Background: Many decisions made in Software Engineering practices are intertemporal choices: trade-offs in time between closer options with potential short-term benefit and future options with potential long-term benefit. However, how software professionals make intertemporal decisions is not well understood. Aim: This paper investigates how shifting time frames influence preferences in software projects in relation to purposefully selected background factors. Method: We investigate temporal discounting by replicating a questionnaire-based observational study. The replication uses a changed-population and -experimenter design to increase the internal and external validity of the original results. Results: The results of this study confirm the occurrence of temporal discounting in samples of both professional and student participants from different countries and demonstrate strong variance in discounting between study participants. We found that professional experience influenced discounting. Participants with broader professional experience exhibited less discounting than those with narrower experience. Conclusions: The results provide strong empirical support for the relevance and importance of temporal discounting in SE and the urgency of targeted interdisciplinary research to explore the underlying mechanisms and their theoretical and practical implications. The results suggest that technical debt management could be improved by increasing the breadth of experience available for critical decisions with long-term impact. In addition, the present study provides a methodological basis for replicating temporal discounting studies in software engineering.",
keywords = "Software engineering, Technical debt, Temporal discounting, Inter-temporal choice, Questionnaire, Technical debt management, Judgement, Decision making, Psychology, Behavioural software engineering",
author = "Fabian Fagerholm and Christoph Becker and Alexander Chatzigeorgiou and Stefanie Betz and Leticia Duboc and Birgit Penzenstadler and Rahul Mohanani and Venters, {Colin C.}",
year = "2019",
month = "10",
day = "17",
doi = "10.1109/ESEM.2019.8870161",
language = "English",
isbn = "9781728129693",
series = "International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement",
publisher = "IEEE",
pages = "1--12",
booktitle = "Proceedings of the 13th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement",

}

Fagerholm, F, Becker, C, Chatzigeorgiou, A, Betz, S, Duboc, L, Penzenstadler, B, Mohanani, R & Venters, CC 2019, Temporal Discounting in Software Engineering: A Replication Study. in Proceedings of the 13th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement : ESEM 2019., 8870161, International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, vol. 2019-Septemer, IEEE, pp. 1-12, ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement , Porto de Galinhas, Brazil, 19/09/19. https://doi.org/10.1109/ESEM.2019.8870161

Temporal Discounting in Software Engineering : A Replication Study. / Fagerholm, Fabian; Becker, Christoph; Chatzigeorgiou, Alexander; Betz, Stefanie; Duboc, Leticia; Penzenstadler, Birgit; Mohanani, Rahul; Venters, Colin C.

Proceedings of the 13th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement : ESEM 2019. IEEE, 2019. p. 1-12 8870161 (International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement; Vol. 2019-Septemer).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

TY - GEN

T1 - Temporal Discounting in Software Engineering

T2 - A Replication Study

AU - Fagerholm, Fabian

AU - Becker, Christoph

AU - Chatzigeorgiou, Alexander

AU - Betz, Stefanie

AU - Duboc, Leticia

AU - Penzenstadler, Birgit

AU - Mohanani, Rahul

AU - Venters, Colin C.

PY - 2019/10/17

Y1 - 2019/10/17

N2 - Background: Many decisions made in Software Engineering practices are intertemporal choices: trade-offs in time between closer options with potential short-term benefit and future options with potential long-term benefit. However, how software professionals make intertemporal decisions is not well understood. Aim: This paper investigates how shifting time frames influence preferences in software projects in relation to purposefully selected background factors. Method: We investigate temporal discounting by replicating a questionnaire-based observational study. The replication uses a changed-population and -experimenter design to increase the internal and external validity of the original results. Results: The results of this study confirm the occurrence of temporal discounting in samples of both professional and student participants from different countries and demonstrate strong variance in discounting between study participants. We found that professional experience influenced discounting. Participants with broader professional experience exhibited less discounting than those with narrower experience. Conclusions: The results provide strong empirical support for the relevance and importance of temporal discounting in SE and the urgency of targeted interdisciplinary research to explore the underlying mechanisms and their theoretical and practical implications. The results suggest that technical debt management could be improved by increasing the breadth of experience available for critical decisions with long-term impact. In addition, the present study provides a methodological basis for replicating temporal discounting studies in software engineering.

AB - Background: Many decisions made in Software Engineering practices are intertemporal choices: trade-offs in time between closer options with potential short-term benefit and future options with potential long-term benefit. However, how software professionals make intertemporal decisions is not well understood. Aim: This paper investigates how shifting time frames influence preferences in software projects in relation to purposefully selected background factors. Method: We investigate temporal discounting by replicating a questionnaire-based observational study. The replication uses a changed-population and -experimenter design to increase the internal and external validity of the original results. Results: The results of this study confirm the occurrence of temporal discounting in samples of both professional and student participants from different countries and demonstrate strong variance in discounting between study participants. We found that professional experience influenced discounting. Participants with broader professional experience exhibited less discounting than those with narrower experience. Conclusions: The results provide strong empirical support for the relevance and importance of temporal discounting in SE and the urgency of targeted interdisciplinary research to explore the underlying mechanisms and their theoretical and practical implications. The results suggest that technical debt management could be improved by increasing the breadth of experience available for critical decisions with long-term impact. In addition, the present study provides a methodological basis for replicating temporal discounting studies in software engineering.

KW - Software engineering

KW - Technical debt

KW - Temporal discounting

KW - Inter-temporal choice

KW - Questionnaire

KW - Technical debt management

KW - Judgement

KW - Decision making

KW - Psychology

KW - Behavioural software engineering

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85074281382&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1109/ESEM.2019.8870161

DO - 10.1109/ESEM.2019.8870161

M3 - Conference contribution

SN - 9781728129693

T3 - International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement

SP - 1

EP - 12

BT - Proceedings of the 13th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement

PB - IEEE

ER -

Fagerholm F, Becker C, Chatzigeorgiou A, Betz S, Duboc L, Penzenstadler B et al. Temporal Discounting in Software Engineering: A Replication Study. In Proceedings of the 13th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement : ESEM 2019. IEEE. 2019. p. 1-12. 8870161. (International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement). https://doi.org/10.1109/ESEM.2019.8870161