Empirical Research in Software Process Modeling: A Systematic Literature Review
Recognized as one of the powerful technologies in software process engineering, Software Process Modeling (and Simulation) (SPM) has received significant attention over the last three decades. Although empirical research plays a critical role in software engineering, the state-of-the-practice of empirical research in SPM has not been systematically reviewed. This paper serves as a status report of the assessment of empirical research in SPM by analyzing all refereed studies that were published in relevant venues from 1987 to 2008 using systematic review methodology. The primary findings indicate that in current SPM-related empirical studies, (1) software process management and improvement (SPI) was not yet the most popular primary research objectives; (2) exploratory empirical research methods, e.g., case study and action research, were dominantly used; (3) there were common issues in empirical research reports in terms of following rigorous reporting guidelines. Based on the review results, we also suggest the future needs for empirical research in SPM, in terms of research topics, SPM techniques, the strengths of research methodology and the rigors of empirical studies.
Keywords: Software process modeling and simulation, empirical research, systematic literature review