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Evidence-Based Software Quality Engineering

Foreword by the Chairs

Guilherme Horta Travassos (COPPE/UFRJ, Brazil)
Fernando Brito e Abreu (ISCTE-IUL & CITI/FCT/UNL, Portugal)

Quality has been recognized as a crosscutting concern in the Software and Systems Engineering bodies of knowledge (SWEBOK and SEBoK, respectively), covering the whole lifecycle, from requirements to design, construction, testing and maintenance. Software Quality Engineering has become a de facto profession, as evidenced by ASQ’s certification scheme and associated body of knowledge.

Notwithstanding, researchers and practitioners on the field continuously propose new methods, techniques and tools at a great pace, most often with a final claim on system and software quality improvement. Unfortunately, not so often, are those new proposals presented along with some evidence of their “goodness”.

Evidence-based approaches are expected to play an important role on increasing the quality awareness of our community as a whole, by raising evidence on what works, when and where. One of its most important instruments is the systematic literature review (SLR), a secondary study technique derived from medicine practice, which seeks to obtain accurate data by analyzing primary studies, eliminating possible bias that these studies may suffer. Mapping studies and quasi-systematic literature reviews are a kind of SLR aimed at identifying breaches in the corresponding set of primary studies, where further primary studies are required, as well as clumps that can be the target of more focused SLRs. However, we cannot forget that the building pieces of evidence-based approaches are primary studies, which can range from observational studies to controlled experiments, either applying quantitative or qualitative techniques.

Evidence based Software Quality Engineering combines evidence based approaches with the engineering of software quality technologies. It aims at the evolution of the field, by strengthening the confidence on such technologies resulted from the research and development initiatives. To exemplify it, two examples of studies concerned with evidence based approaches supporting investigations regarding software quality are presented.

The first paper “Project Management supported by Business Process Management: A Case Study in a Brazilian Justice Organization”, by Welkey Carmo and Adriano Albuquerque from the University of Fortaleza (Brazil), is an example of a primary study on quality engineering. It presents a case study on the advantages on automation of a project management methodology.

The second paper “Improvement Methods for Software Requirement Specifications: A Mapping Study”, by Viktor Pekar et al. from the University of Innsbruck (Austria), is an example of a secondary study on quality engineering. It reviews the most frequently researched software requirement specifications problems and improvement methods.

However, there is a need to increase substantially the number of primary and secondary studies checking the software quality claims produced by other researchers (i.e. replication studies) or investigating new quality features regarding software systems. Therefore, an important activity at this track is concerned with the panel “Software Quality Myths and Facts: divide and conquer”, which intends to discuss, with some invited participants and audience, the research and development perspectives that can support a working agenda in the field.

In summary, this thematic track will be a forum for researchers, practitioners, and educators that apply primary and secondary studies strategies for assessing, surveying and improving software quality. We aim at fostering the exchange of ideas that will help exploring, understanding, and modeling the software quality phenomena based on evidence.


Dr. Guilherme Horta Travassos
is a professor at COPPE/UFRJ and a CNPq (Brazilian Research Council) researcher. He holds a DSc in Systems Engineering and Computer Science from COPPE/UFRJ, with a post-doc in experimental Software Engineering at UMCP/USA. He leads the Experimental Software Engineering Group at COPPE/UFRJ and is a member of ISERN, SBC and ACM. Apart from that, he takes part in the editorial board of Elsevier - IST, World Scientific - IJSEKE and Springer-JSERD. Further information at http://www.cos.ufrj.br/~ght 




Dr. Fernando Brito e Abreu is associate professor at the Department of Information Sciences and Technologies of the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL) and a senior researcher at CITI / FCT / UNL. He holds a PhD on Computer Science from IST (Lisbon Technical University). He leads the QUASAR research group that includes researchers and graduate students from both FCT/UNL and ISCTE-IUL. He is associate editor of the Software Quality Professional journal from the American Society for Quality. Further information at https://sites.google.com/site/quasarresearchgroup/



Track Committee

Chairs

Guilherme Horta TravassosCOPPE/UFRJ, Brazil

Fernando Brito AbreuISCTE-IUL & CITI/FCT/UNL, Portugal

Local Co-Organizing ChairMiguel Goulão, FCT, New University of Lisbon, Portugal

Program Committee: 

Call for Papers

Our society is more dependent than ever on the quality of the software that makes it run. The company where we work, our trips, our telecommunications, our savings, our healthcare, our national security and even our professional and social circles depend on it. Software is the core of contemporary systems and its quality has then been, for the past decades, a recurrent topic that brought into existence many books, journals, standards, certification initiatives, conferences, interest groups, projects, tools, niche consulting companies, university courses and training initiatives.

Quality is a crosscutting concern in the Software and Systems Engineering bodies of knowledge and encompasses product, processes and systems aspects, as it can be noticed in SEBoK 1.2 and SWEBOK V.3.  Quality is a concern in most chapters, either in system and software requirements, design, construction, testing or maintenance. Software Quality Engineering has become a de facto profession, as evidenced by ASQ’s certification scheme and associated body of knowledge.

Software Engineering is a bubbling pot where a large community of researchers and practitioners pours new methods, techniques and tools at a great pace, most often with a final claim on system and software quality improvement. Unfortunately, not so often, are those new proposals presented along with some evidence of their “goodness”. Despite the awareness of our community as a whole, we also need to increase substantially the number of primary and secondary studies checking the conformance of software quality concerned with the claims produced by other researchers (i.e. replication studies) or investigating new quality features regarding software systems.

This thematic track will be a forum for researchers, practitioners, and educators that apply primary and secondary studies strategies for assessing, surveying and improving software quality. We aim at fostering the exchange of ideas that will help exploring, understanding, and modeling the software quality phenomena based on evidence. We look for studies on software quality that may range from primary (from case studies to controlled experiments, either applying quantitative or qualitative techniques) to secondary (from mapping studies to [quasi] systematic reviews, including meta-analysis or aggregation when possible). Novel and replication studies regarding software quality will be both welcomed. Submitted papers should provide an explicit description of the empirical strategy that was applied. We encourage the use of structured abstracts as suggested by the Information and Software Technology Journal

Paper submission

Authors should submit to http://www.easychair.org/conferences/?conf=quatic2014 a PDF version of their paper. Papers must be in CPS format and not exceed 6 pages, including figures, references, and appendices. Submissions must be original and will be reviewed by the Track Program Committee. Accepted papers will be submitted for archiving in Xplore and CSDL, subject to one of the authors registering for the conference. The authors of the 3 best papers of this thematic track will be invited to submit extended versions to the main track of the conference. More info on the QUATIC’2014 selection process and its tracks can be found at http://2014.quatic.org.

Important dates

Abstract submission: April 21, 2014 (optional)
Paper submission: April 28, 2014
Authors’ notification: May 26, 2014
Registration and Camera-ready: July 10, 2014 (extended to July 21, 2014) 

Photo of participants

Participants of the Evidence-Based Software Quality Engineering Track at QUATIC2014