How to build a good practice software project portfolio?

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15 Citations (Scopus)
209 Downloads (Pure)


What can we learn from historic data that is collected in three software companies that on a daily basis had to cope with highly complex project portfolios? In this paper we analyze a large dataset, containing 352 finalized software engineering projects, with the goal to discover what factors affect software project performance, and what actions can be taken to increase project performance when building a software project portfolio. The software projects were classified in four quadrants of a Cost/Duration matrix: analysis was performed on factors that were strongly related to two of those quadrants, Good Practices and Bad Practices. A ranking was performed on the factors based on statistical significance. The paper results in an inventory of 'what factors should be embraced when building a project portfolio?' (Success Factors), and 'what factors should be avoided when doing so?' (Failure Factors). The major contribution of this paper is that it analyzes characteristics of best performers and worst performers in the dataset of software projects, resulting in 7 Success Factors (a.o. steady heartbeat, a fixed, experienced team, agile (Scrum), and release-based), and 9 Failure Factors (a.o. once-only project, dependencies with other systems, technology driven, and rules- and regulations driven).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication36th International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE Companion 2014 - Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationSoftware Engineering In Practice Track (SEIP)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450327688
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2014
Event36th International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE Companion 2014 - Hyderabad, India
Duration: 31 May 20147 Jun 2014


Conference36th International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE Companion 2014


  • Agile
  • Bad practice
  • Failure factor
  • Good practice
  • Learning cycle
  • Productivity
  • Quality
  • Success factor
  • Time-to-market


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