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Providing a Baseline in Software Process Improvement Education with Lego Scrum Simulations

Review article
Authors Jan-Philipp Steghöfer
Published in ICSE-SEET '18 Proceedings of the 40th International Conference on Software Engineering: Software Engineering Education and Training
Pages 126-135
Publication year 2018
Published at Department of Computer Science and Engineering (GU)
Pages 126-135
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1145/3183377.3183378
Keywords Software Process Improvement, SPI, Software Engineering Education, Scrum
Subject categories Computer and systems science

Abstract

A critical aspect of software process education in general and software process improvement (SPI) education in particular is to give students the chance to experience processes and issues associated with process at first hand. This is, however, often difficult in an educational setting since providing a meaningful project in which to apply a process can take away time and focus from the intended learning objectives. Instead, miniatures and simulations can be used to create an environment in which students can interact with processes directly without taking up large parts of the curriculum. In this paper, we report on our experience of using Lego Scrum simulations in an SPI course at the Bachelor level. The simulations are used both to introduce a baseline for the students to let them experience process issues directly, create an improvement plan that addresses observed issues, and to apply and evaluate the plan in a second simulation. This allows students to engage with SPI methods practically, instead of purely theoretically, and allows the teacher to refer to the shared experience throughout the course. The collected data shows that the approach is suitable, but that students struggle with the demand of putting an improvement plan into practice. We show which issues commonly occur in the simulations and thus allow teachers who adopt the practice to scaffold it and react accordingly, in particular to empower the students to take on responsibility for the improvement of the process.

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