Background and activities

My primary focus is software engineering, the subfield of software process improvement, in particular knowledge management and agile software development.

My research interests have been aspects of software process improvement, in particular issues regarding human aspects of software development and how software development can be improved. I have worked in five major software process improvement projects with researchers from SINTEF, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, the University of Oslo and the Simula research institute. The main part of these projects have been action research projects with more than 30 Norwegian companies. The projects have focused on providing novel research results on topics of importance to the software industry. I have particularly focused on the following themes:

Knowledge management in software engineering: This line of research has focused on studying how software consulting companies make use of intranet tools to share knowledge across projects. I conducted empirical case studies in several companies, leading to new insight on what tools exist, how the tools are used and perceived by different groups in the organization. These studies led to publications at the International Conference on Software Engineering [8], and an article in Communications of the ACM [9]. In addition, I have reviewed existing literature in this field, resulting in one article giving an overview of reported benefits of knowledge management approaches, published in the International Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering [4]. In a systematic review published in Information and Software Technology [2], my co-author and I reviewed empirical studies of knowledge management in software engineering, and classified findings according to a taxonomy of knowledge management schools. This is the most recent review-article on this topic. In addition, I have co-edited a book on a particularly important type of knowledge in software engineering, architectural knowledge, which was published by Springer in 2009. I am a co-author of two of the ten most cited articles when searching for “knowledge management” and “software engineering” in ISI Science citation index.

Project retrospectives: Also known as post mortem reviews, this area of research is concerned with a common methods to share knowledge within a development team, and transfer knowledge from a development team to other parts of an organization. My work has focused on describing processes for conducting such reviews and comparing the results of such processes to other mechanisms for knowledge-transfer. This research has led to several publications at conferences, as well as one article in IEEE Software [1], which is the sixth most cited article in that journal the year it was published. In addition, I have written an overview article on approaches to retrospectives in software engineering, which was published in Information and Software Technology [3].

Electronic process guides: This research concerns the use of applications to guide software developers in their work, typically describing tailored software development methods, which are available in intranet tools. Together with a fellow researcher, I was involved in designing a process to develop electronic process guides, what we called process workshops. The procedure was documented in a book chapter [7] and carried out in practice in a company. After the process guide was developed, we followed the use of the process guide in a longitudinal case study, using both qualitative and quantitative data. This work resulted in a journal article in IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering [6].

Agile software development: Software process improvement in later years has to a very large extent been synonymous with introduction and adoption of agile software development methods. I have studied these methods in practice in several action research projects, leading to publications at international conferences. In particular, I have been interested in project management in this setting, and on how knowledge is shared in teams primarily relying on knowledge management approaches to share tacit knowledge. I took part in reviewing empirical studies of agile software development, which has resulted in a systematic review article, which in March 2011 is the most downloaded as well as the most cited article published in Information and Software Technology [10]. I have been involved in organizing the 11th International Conference on Agile Software Development in 2010 as co-organizing chair, and am also co-producer of the Research at work track at the Agile2011 conference in the USA. For the conference in 2011, I co-edited the anthology “Agile Software Development: Current Research and Future Directions”, with contributions from some of the main researchers on the topic. In 2008, I co-authored a paper for Agile2008 evaluating the research in the field, and suggesting a roadmap for research on agile software development [5]. I will also co-edit a special issue of the Journal of Systems and Software, where the focus is on how theory can explain agile software development methods.

Teamwork in software development: Recently, I have focused on the role of teamwork in software development. This is motivated by the trend to develop software using agile development methods, where the development is carried out in small teams. Thus, a central question in mastering agile methods is mastering teamwork. In this field, I have participated in field studies of development teams, and identified relevant theory from other research areas focusing on teamwork, which is relevant to software development. This work has so far resulted in one journal article published in Information and Software Technology [11]. This article is currently the second most downloaded article in that journal. At present, I am both involved in field studies on teamwork as well as in writing a review article of studies of teamwork in software development.


[1] Birk, A., Dingsøyr, T., and Stålhane, T., Postmortem: Never leave a project without it, IEEE Software, special issue on knowledge management in software engineering 19 (2002) 43 - 45.

[2] Bjørnson, F.O. and Dingsøyr, T., Knowledge Management in Software Engineering: A Systematic Review of Studied Concepts and Research Methods Used, Information and Software Technology 50 (2008) 1055-1168.

[3] Dingsøyr, T., Postmortem reviews: Purpose and Approaches in Software Engineering, Information and Software Technology 47 (2005) 293-303.

[4] Dingsøyr, T. and Conradi, R., A Survey of Case Studies of the Use of Knowledge Management in Software Engineering, International Journal of Software Engineering and Knowledge Engineering 12 (2002) 391 - 414.

[5] Dingsøyr, T., Dybå, T., and Abrahamsson, P., A Preliminary Roadmap for Empirical Research on Agile Software Development, Agile2008, Toronto, 2008, pp. 83-94.

[6] Dingsøyr, T. and Moe, N.B., The Impact of Employee Participation on the Use of an Electronic Process Guide: A Longitudinal Case Study, IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering 34 (2008) 212-225.

[7] Dingsøyr, T., Moe, N.B., Dybå, T., and Conradi, R., A workshop-oriented approach for defining electronic process guides - A case study, in, S. T. Acuña and N. Juristo, Eds, Software Process Modelling, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Boston, 2005, pp. 187-205.

[8] Dingsøyr, T. and Røyrvik, E., An Empirical Study of an Informal Knowledge Repository in a Medium-Sized Software Consulting Company, International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE), Portland, Oregon, USA, 2003, pp. 84 - 92.

[9] Dingsøyr, T., Røyrvik, E., and Djarraya, H.K., Practical Knowledge Management Tool Use in a Software Consulting Company, Communications of the ACM 48 (2005) 96 - 100.

[10] Dybå, T. and Dingsøyr, T., Empirical Studies of Agile Software Development: A Systematic Review, Information and Software Technology 50 (2008) 833-859.

[11] Moe, N.B., Dingsøyr, T., and Dybå, T., A teamwork model for understanding an agile team: A case study of a Scrum project, Information and Software Technology 52 (2010) 480–491.

Scientific, academic and artistic work

A selection of recent journal publications, artistic productions, books, including book and report excerpts. See all publications in the database

Journal publications