Don't Touch My Code! Examining the Effects of Ownership on Software Quality

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Executive Summary

Ownership is a key aspect of large-scale software development. The authors examine the relationship between different ownership measures and software failures in two large software projects: Windows Vista and Windows 7. They find that in all cases, measures of ownership such as the number of low-expertise developers, and the proportion of ownership for the top owner have a relationship with both pre-release faults and post-release failures. They also empirically identify reasons that low-expertise developers make changes to components and show that the removal of low-expertise contributions dramatically decreases the performance of contribution based defect prediction.

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