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Leiden University and ICTU start research on software development

How can we further streamline the development of software for the government? Leiden University and ICTU are to investigate this in a joint research project that was launched on 6 July 2016.

The Dutch government uses a lot of software – DigiD, for instance, or software to open and close bridges automatically. Much of that software is developed by ICTU, a Dutch government organization that helps other government institutions in the realisation of digital services. In recent years, ICTU developed a quality system in order to monitor its own software development. In the project Grip on Software (GROS), researchers from Leiden University will help ICTU to make more use of this system in terms of quality improvement.


Project Grip on Software (GROS) was launched on 6 July.

ICTU’s software is developed using the Scrum approach, in which teams work on a particular subject during short periods of time (also known as sprints). The quality system generates all kinds of data regarding the progress of these teams: from the number of people working on a subject, to the use cases and the results.

How can these teams work even better and more efficiently? The data from the quality system can provide clues, says project manager Fons Verbeek (Leiden University): ‘What factors determine how successful the process of software development is? By looking at the data in a different way, and by discovering patterns in it, we can get a clear picture of that. That way, we can help improve the quality of software development for the government.'

Big data

Analysing all this data requires the latest insights and techniques from the field of big data and software engineering. Therefore, ICTU has initiated a collaboration with researchers from the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) and the Leiden Centre or Data Science (LCDS), to further develop the issue in a PhD project. In the preliminary phase, a 3 month pilot has started in order to determine the scope of the study and to kick-start the project.


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