Power and politics of user involvement in software development

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
ACM International Conference Proceeding Series, 2018, Part F137700
Issue Date:
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© 2018 Association for Computing Machinery. [CONTEXT] Involving users in software development is a complex and multi-faceted concept. Empirical research that studies power and politics of user involvement in software development is scarce. [OBJECTIVE] In this paper, we present the results from a case study of a software development project, where organizational politics was explored in context of user involvement in software development. [METHOD] We collected data through 30 interviews with 20 participants, attending workshops, observing project meetings, and analysing projects documents. The qualitative data was rigorously and iteratively analyzed. [RESULTS] The results indicate that the politics was a significant factor used to exert power and influence in decision-making processes. Communication channels were exploited for political purposes. These contributed to the users' dissatisfaction with their involvement thus impacting on the project outcome. [CONCLUSION] Having multiple teams of stakeholders with different levels of power in decision-making, the politics is inevitable and inescapable. Without careful attention, the political aspect of user involvement in software development can contribute to unsuccessful project.
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