Blinded by Simplicity: Locating the Social Dimension in Software Development Process Literature
Paper in proceedings, 2020

The software development process is a complex human, intellectual and labor-intensive activity and human related factors have shown to be the most significant contributors to software system failures. Lacking the ability to identify or quantify these factors, software practitioners will not learn from the failures caused by them. Although, social factors give rise to high failure rates in software development projects they tend to be ignored. Business continues as usual. The inability for software engineers to attain a holistic and inclusive approach will leave the social dimension out and undermine the realization of a fully sustainable software development process.

This paper builds on the master’s thesis with the same title completed in December 2019 at Stockholm University. The thesis demonstrates how research literature on software development processes addresses (or not) the social dimension of sustainability from a holistic point of view. The results indicate that the practice of dealing holistically with complexity including the social dimension is still underdeveloped. Further research is suggested regarding the development of adequate supporting tools, social skills, and managerial attitudes and behaviors.

Software and its engineering

Social and professional topics

Software organization and properties


Johanna Gustavsson

Stockholm University

Birgit Penzenstadler

Chalmers, Computer Science and Engineering (Chalmers), Software Engineering (Chalmers), Software Engineering for Testing, Requirements, Innovation and Psychology

ACM International Conference Proceeding Series


7th International Conference on ICT for Sustainability, ICT4S 2020
Bristol, United Kingdom,

Subject Categories

Software Engineering

Information Science

Information Systemes, Social aspects



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