Not Going to Take This Anymore: Multi-Objective Overtime Planning for Software Engineering Projects


Software Engineering and development is well-known to suffer from unplanned overtime, which causes stress and illness in engineers and can lead to poor quality software with higher defects. In this paper, we introduce a multi-objective decision support approach to help balance project risks and duration against overtime, so that software engineers can better plan overtime. We evaluate our approach on 6 real world software projects, drawn from 3 organisations using 3 standard evaluation measures and 3 different approaches to risk assessment. Our results show that our approach was significantly better (p < 0.05) than standard multi-objective search in 76% of experiments (with high Cohen effect size in 85% of these) and was significantly better than currently used overtime planning strategies in 100% of experiments (with high effect size in all). We also show how our approach provides actionable overtime planning results and investigate the impact of the three different forms of risk assessment.