Computing That Serves

Hey! You got people in my software project!


Thursday, February 23, 2012 - 10:00am


Patrick Wagstrom

IBM Research


Chuck Knutson

Software engineering projects, despite customized tool support, adequate staffing, and excellent planning, often fail; sometimes spectacularly and in ways never before anticipated. It seems as though failed projects share few common aspects aside from the use of computers and the involvement of people. I address the intersection of these common aspects. Computer mediated communication tools, which are used in nearly all projects, such as wikis, bug trackers, and email, create archival artifacts that can be analyzed to gain greater insight into the socio-technical dynamics of software projects, providing direct actionable guidance to improve the software engineering process. In this talk I discuss how complex networks of relationships can be drawn out of such software engineering artifacts and analyzed to improve communication between individuals and teams and also gain insight into team evolution.


Patrick Wagstrom is a research staff member in the governance science research group at the IBM TJ Watson Research Center in Hawthorne, NY. His research at IBM focuses on the complex interactions between people and software projects and how individual and group behaviors, rather than strictly technical issues, affect, and often hinder software development. Prior to working at IBM he received a Ph.D. in Engineering and Public Policy and Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University and has undergraduate degrees in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, and Computer Science from Illinois Institute of Technology. When not conducting research for IBM he enjoys running marathons, has developed code for several open source projects, and once fought off a black bear in rural Alaska.