This just in: The report Gina Venolia and I wrote during my internship at Microsoft Research was accepted for presentation and publication at the 2009 International Conference on Software Engineering.
I’ll post a link to the paper, and a description of what we did, once we have the final version ready. For now, in case you’re interested, here’s our title and abstract:
The Secret Life of Bugs: Going Past the Errors and Omissions in Software Repositories
by Jorge Aranda and Gina Venolia
Every bug has a story behind it. The people that discover and resolve it need to coordinate, to get information from documents, tools, or other people, and to navigate through issues of accountability, ownership, and organizational structure. This paper reports on a field study of coordination activities around bug fixing that used a combination of case study research and a survey of software professionals. Results show that the histories of even simple bugs are strongly dependent on social, organizational, and technical knowledge that cannot be solely extracted through automation of electronic repositories, and that such automation provides incomplete and often erroneous accounts of coordination. The paper uses rich bug histories and survey results to identify common bug fixing coordination patterns and to provide implications for tool designers and researchers of coordination in software development.