Contrasting Software Design with Engineering Design


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Software design is attracting significant efforts as many researchers have been investigating different aspects of software design from knowledge- and human-intensive undertaking. We assert that software design discipline can benefit from leveraging the body of knowledge and the best practices developed in other design disciplines, e.g., engineering design. We believe that software engineering community needs to fully understand the commonalities and differences between the design activities in different disciplines. In this line of research, I have been collaborating with Prof. Ahmed-Kristensen of Department of Engineering Management, Technical University of Denmark (DTU). Our initial efforts have been focused on analyzing the transcripts from the software design sessions performed for the workshop on “Studying professional Software Design” organized by researchers from University of California, Irvine. Our analysis has resulted in several insights of how software designers move from a problem domain to a solution domain and the commonalities between software designers’ and engineering designers’ design activities. Our analysis concludes that software designers were found to move quickly to a detailed design phase, employ co-.evolution and adopt a predominantly depth-first approach to developing their solutions. The initial findings from our analysis have been reported in the following paper which is available on request.

Ahmed-Kristensen, S., Ali Babar, M., Analysis of Software design and Contrasting to Engineering Design, accepted in the 24th International Conference on Design Theory and Methodology (DTM), Chicago, USA, 2012.