Impact of time pressure on software quality : A laboratory experiment on a game-theoretical model

Dirk Basten, Marcel Müller, Marion Ott, Oleg Pankratz, Christoph Rosenkranz
2021 PLoS ONE  
Research suggests the relationship between time pressure and software quality to be more complex than presumed. While software developers can adjust their output to improve observed performance at the expense of software quality, the latter has been found to increase with time pressure in case of work-pace dependent incentives. An untested, but widely disseminated game-theoretical model seeks to resolve this contradiction and hypothesizes that high rates of time pressure avoid so-called
more » ... d so-called 'shortcuts', which occur in the form of imperfections induced by developers to meet unrealistically tight deadlines. We conduct two laboratory experiments to empirically test this model for the first time. Our results corroborate the model with regard to its suggestion that shortcuts can be reduced if developers perceive unrealistic deadlines as ever-present. However, we also show that the actual critical probability of unrealistic deadlines-the point at which shortcut taking is drastically reducedis above the theoretical one. Although final conclusions on the impact of time pressure on software quality remain to be drawn, our results suggest that-considering the contingencies of our study-time pressure helps in striving for quality in software projects.
doi:10.18154/rwth-2021-01833 fatcat:cqbzrvisabaidaunpr7ztnfqxe