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Pulling It All Together: Preparing Software Engineering Students For The Real World

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Conference

2005 Annual Conference

Location

Portland, Oregon

Publication Date

June 12, 2005

Start Date

June 12, 2005

End Date

June 15, 2005

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Teaching Software Engineering Process

Page Count

9

Page Numbers

10.1045.1 - 10.1045.9

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/14348

Download Count

15

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Paper Authors

author page

Lee Vallone

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Pulling It All Together Preparing Software Engineering Students for the Real World

Lee Vallone, Monmouth University West Long Branch, New Jersey

ABSTRACT

“The major problems of our work are not so much technological as sociological in nature.” So reads the self-proscribed thesis for DeMarco & Lister’s landmark book, Peopleware. In most development organizations managers spend most of their time solving technical problems, instead of addressing the political & interpersonal issues that are the real culprits for the high failure rate of software projects. Similarly, we teach our students the virtues of use-cases and spiral development models, frequently ignoring the true keystones of student success in the project world: teamwork, collaboration and the processes that tie everything together.

There are really two objectives for this paper. One is to describe a method for teaching process, quality and measurement in a way that is engaging and enables students to really internalize the material. The second objective is to describe an approach that helps students understand (and experience) the role and importance of sociological issues and how to address them in a way that substantially increases the probability of project and personal success. It is based on the premise that software engineering is so much more than the technical disciplines.

Introduction

“The major problems of our work are not so much technological as sociological in nature.” So reads the self-proscribed thesis for DeMarco & Lister’s landmark book, Peopleware (DeMarco and Lister, 1999). In most development organizations managers spend most of their time solving technical problems, instead of addressing the political and interpersonal issues that are the real culprits for the high failure rate of software projects. Similarly, we teach our students the virtues of use-cases and spiral development models, frequently ignoring the true keystones of success in the project world: teamwork, collaboration and the processes that tie everything together.

In software development organizations, process is a dirty word, the dreaded ‘P’ word, and most software engineers view it as the stereotypical Dilbert style waste of time. To get compliance and participation, true believers and Software Quality Assurance teams (the process police), frequently resort to the threat of ISO and/or TL 9000 non-compliances. In most cases, compliance obtained in this way amounts to lip service. The net result is that the processes provide little value and the poor results only serve to reinforce the impression that this “stuff” is useless and detracts from the real objective, writing code. From my background on various industry projects, I believe there are really only two cures for this downward spiral: personally experiencing failure, and personally experiencing success.

Proceedings of the 2005 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright 2005, American Society for Engineering Education

Vallone, L. (2005, June), Pulling It All Together: Preparing Software Engineering Students For The Real World Paper presented at 2005 Annual Conference, Portland, Oregon. https://peer.asee.org/14348

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