Response to “Using Social Networks to Analyse the Stakeholders of Large-Scale Software Projects”

1. Introduction


This is a response article to “Using Social Networks to Analyse the Stakeholders of Large-Scale Software Projects”.

In this article, the author proposed an concept of using social networks to analyse the stakeholders of large-scale software projects[1]. He also showed an example to explain this idea.  Furthermore, he demonstrated his own opinions about this concept.

I am going to talk about advantages and disadvantages of this article, and I think more things should be considered if we want to use author’s concept in reality. These things can make the result more reliable and correct.


2. Discussion about advantages


I think the author chose a very good topic, and he explained this concept very clearly by demonstrating a example. This concept is mostly based on the paper about StateNet [2]. I think this topic is very useful because lack of user involvement is the main cause of project failure, and success is rare [4]. Reports suggest that 34% of projects succeed in 2004, 35% in 2006, and 32% in 2009[5]. The author used subtitle to make the logic of this article very easy to follow. The author clearly stated his position in the conclusion part of the article. I totally agree with the idea that overlooking stakeholders is possibly the most common mistake in development efforts [6].

3. Discussion about disadvantages


However, I thinks there are some disadvantages of this article as follows.


3.1 Structure should be more upfront


The author spent most of his article to explain his concept, and he talked about his own opinions about this concept in the conclusion. I think his introduction section should mirror his conclusion. I think the structure of article could be improved.


3.2 More personal opinions rather than explanation of the concept


Like I said before, I think the author spent too much of his article on explaining the concept. The author proposed his own idea in the last section, which are

  1. Prioritise the stakeholders with some measures due to their importance

  2. It allows every stakeholder to have a say in this, so all people are considered in deciding the importance of all others [1].


The author talked about two advantages of this concept. However, I think the author may think about more about this concept, and it could be disadvantages of concept, what other areas can be used, future work, different criteria to evaluate the result and so on.


4. More things could be considered


To make the result more reliable and objective, I think more things should be considered.


First of all, the number of stakeholders of a software project is dynamic, in other words, the number of different roles of stakeholder is always change as well. This dynamic process should be considered if we want to build a weighted graph. Perhaps we can use other theories to make our result more reflective of real situation, such as fuzzy set theory [3], which can solve the fuzziness and uncertainty of big and dynamic data.

Secondly, the author believes his concept allows every stakeholder to have opinions, which can decide the importance of all others. In my opinion, if every stakeholder can have opinions which decide others’ importance, the objectivity of the results will be questioned. Relationship between different stakeholder should be considered.

Thirdly, the consistency of role descriptors should be considered and this could be a problem if different stakeholders have different opinions about a same stakeholder. Furthermore, one people could have different roles in real life, so how to describe him/her in the social network should be considered as well.

Finally, building a new social networks takes time and effort, and the accuracy and representation of new social networks is not sure. We have a idea that should we build the new social networks based on useful information from existing completed networks? We can use meaningful data, remove dirty data and add new data to build the new social networks. We believe this method could be more efficient and accurate.

5. Conclusion


In this article, we first made a brief introduction of Awad’s article [1]. Then, we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of this article. Finally, to improve the reliability and objectivity of the result if we use author’s concept in really, we believe more things should be considered, and we talked about these things in details.




[1] Using Social Networks to Analyse the Stakeholders of Large-Scale Software Projects. Nadi AWAD. February 17, 2014.

[2] StakeNet: Using Social Networks to Analyse theStakeholders of Large-Scale Software Projects. Soo Ling Lim, Daniele Quercia, Anthony Finkelstein. In Proceedings of the 32nd International Conference on Software Engineering, ICSE (1) 2010, pages 295-304

[3] Chen, Shouyu. philosophical basis of variable fuzzy set theory. s.l. : The Journal of Dalian University of Technology , 2005. 53-57.

[4] Standish Group. The CHAOS Report, 1994.

[5] Standish Group. CHAOS Summary 2009, 2009.

[6] D. C. Gause and G. M. Weinberg. Exploring Requirements: Quality Before Design. Dorset House Publishing, 1989.