Notifying and Involving Users in Experimentation: Ethical Perceptions of Software Practitioners

Sezin Yaman, Fabian Fagerholm, Myriam Munezero, Hanna Maenpaa, Tomi Mannisto

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Experiment-driven development with the help of real usage data helps to build software products and services that are of high value to their users. As more software companies use experimentation in their development practises, ethical concerns are increasingly important. Objective: There is a need for understanding the ethical issues companies must take into account when practising experimentation as a development strategy. This paper examines how software development practitioners experience the need for notifying users when involving them in experimentation. Method: We conducted a survey within four software companies, inviting employees in different functional roles to indicate their attitudes and perceptions through a number of statements. Results: Employees working in different roles have different viewpoints on ethical issues. While managers are more conscious about company-customer relationships, UX designers appear more familiar with involving users. Developers think that details of experiments can be withheld from users if the results depend on it. Conclusion: Barriers to successfully conducting experiment-driven development are different for different roles. Clear and specific guidelines are needed for ethical aspects of experimentation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings - 11th ACM/IEEE International Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement, ESEM 2017
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781509040391
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2017
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement - Toronto, Canada
Duration: 9 Nov 201710 Nov 2017
Conference number: 11

Publication series

NameInternational Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement
ISSN (Print)1949-3770
ISSN (Electronic)1949-3789


ConferenceInternational Symposium on Empirical Software Engineering and Measurement
Abbreviated titleESEM


  • continuous experimentation
  • customer involvement
  • ethics
  • experiment-driven development
  • human factors
  • software development
  • User involvement


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