Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences

An Empirical Analysis of Requirements Uncertainty, Task Uncertainty and Software Project Performance

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences

An Empirical Analysis of Requirements Uncertainty, Task Uncertainty and Software Project Performance

Article excerpt

Abstract

Identifying user requirements is recognized as a critical step in the development of software and an important area of research. With the rapid changes of customer-driven environment, user requirements have become increasingly hard to predict and control. The team tasks of software design and development are intrinsically complex and often exacerbated by incomplete user requirements. Given all of that, requirements and task uncertainty are very important factors affecting software project performance. The main purpose of this research is to examine the relationships among requirements uncertainty, task uncertainty and software project performance, based on a questionnaire survey of 168 Chinese software development staffs. Analyzed data shows that both requirements uncertainty and task uncertainty are negatively related to software project performance. Moreover, the result shows that there is a significance positive association between requirements and task uncertainty. Findings in this research can help practitioners understand influencing factors and draw more attentions from Chinese managers, which could enhance software project performance.

Keywords: requirements uncertainty, task uncertainty, software development, product performance, process performance.

INTRODUCTION

With the development of informatization, the number of software development project is increasing, but the result of the project is not optimistic. According to the Standish Group survey (2007), along with more and more attentions and continuous investments, the project's success rate, which is rising, is still only 34%.

Some researches point out that most of the problems are caused by the uncertainty in the process of software development. As the core factor of software development process, requirements uncertainty has an important influence on the project (Zmud, 1980). During the requirement analysis stage, for lack of IT knowledge, it is difficult for users to express their own requirements, thus some invisible requirements are hard to find, which affect the completion of task. According to foreign researchers, task uncertainty also has an important influence on software development project. However, the degree of this influence has not been completely verified, and the relationship between requirements uncertainty and task uncertainty also remains to be further study. In China, the existing researches mainly summarize factors influencing the software project performance, and pay more attention to individual factors, which does not take the relationships among influencing factors into account. Besides, compared with theoretical research, empirical research is less.

Therefore, based on Chinese software projects as the research object, this study examines the relationship between requirements uncertainty and task uncertainty and their impacts on software development performance. Research conclusion helps to understand influencing factors and draw more attentions from Chinese managers.

LITERATURE REVIEW AND RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

* Requirements Uncertainty

Nidumolu (1995) deeply studies the requirements uncertainty. Based on the analysis of 64 projects, he puts forward that the requirements uncertainty mainly displays in three aspects: requirements instability, requirements diversity and requirements analyzability. In the process of software development, the users will constantly add new additional requirements or functions. Thus the development process is varying, software function is difficult to finally determine. Requirements instability reflects the extent of changes in user' requirements over the course of development. Requirements diversity reflects the extent to which users differ among themselves in their requirements. Requirements analyzability reflects the extent to the process of converting. Most researchers confirm this classification.

* The Relationship between Requirements Uncertainty and Software Projects Performance

About software project performance, there are different definitions among different researchers. …

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