IS Development

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Track Chair: Brian Fitzgerald, University of Limerick

Information systems development (ISD) is arguably the core topic in the IS field, serving as a focus for other issues such as globalisation, strategy planning, business reengineering, process innovation and web services. During its half-century history, information systems have proliferated into almost all spheres of life and have become functionally more complete and better integrated. Much of ISD now involves relatively routine installation of application packages. Despite these successes, many (if not most) ISD projects involving the development of complex and innovative software, (1) fail to meet budget plans, (2) fail to meet development schedules, or (3) result in poor quality systems. In recent times, a number of practice-led initiatives have emerged which appear to address these three fundamental problems, and which are also suited to the emergent nature of IS requirements. These initiatives vary in character and include agile methods, the open source software phenomenon, component-based development, and web services. Indeed, some authorities claim that these approaches represent a paradigm shift for ISD. Certainly, cost economics have evolved and older, entrenched ideas about the cost of system changes, freezing requirements, and consequences of failure, may no longer apply in the same way. Much rigorous research is needed to establish the contribution from new approaches, and the extent to which the entrenched thinking is flawed. Likewise, the perennial challenges of ISD in relation to process definition, method adaptation remain unsolved as new approaches and research problems proliferate.

Suggested topics:
 -  Globally-distributed software development
 -  Open source development processes and business models
 -  Lessons from the use of agile methods
 -  ISD method engineering and method tailoring
 -  Relevance of traditional view of ISD phases and activities such as analysis and design, and separation of roles into analyst, designer, coder, tester
 -  Architectures required for new ISD approaches
 -  Component-based software development
 -  Changing roles of business and software process improvement
 -  Quality or failure of systems development projects
 -  The extent to which innovations such as improved management, improved processes, and smaller project scope are having a positive effect