Transactions on Software Engineering

The IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering (TSE) is an archival journal published bimonthly. We are interested in well-defined theoretical results and empirical studies that have potential impact on the construction, analysis, or management of software. Read the full scope of TSE.

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From the January 2019 Issue

What Makes a Great Manager of Software Engineers?

By Eirini Kalliamvakou, Christian Bird, Thomas Zimmermann, Andrew Begel, Robert DeLine, and Daniel M. German

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Having great managers is as critical to success as having a good team or organization. In general, a great manager is seen as fuelling the team they manage, enabling it to use its full potential. Though software engineering research studies factors that may affect the performance and productivity of software engineers and teams (like tools and skills), it has overlooked the software engineering manager. The software industry’s growth and change in the last decades is creating a need for a domain-specific view of management. On the one hand, experts are questioning how the abundant work in management applies to software engineering. On the other hand, practitioners are looking to researchers for evidence-based guidance on how to manage software teams. We conducted a mixed methods empirical study of software engineering management at Microsoft to investigate what manager attributes developers and engineering managers perceive important and why. We present a conceptual framework of manager attributes, and find that technical skills are not the sign of greatness for an engineering manager. Through statistical analysis we identify how engineers and managers relate in their views, and how software engineering differs from other knowledge work groups in its perceptions about what makes great managers. We present strategies for putting the attributes to use, discuss implications for research and practice, and offer avenues for further work.

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Editorials and Announcements


  • We are pleased to announce that Nenad Medvidović, a Professor in the Computer Science Department and in the Informatics Program at the University of Southern California, has been selected as the new Editor-in-Chief of the IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering starting in 2018.
  • TSE now offers authors access to Code Ocean. Code Ocean is a cloud-based executable research platform that allows authors to share their algorithms in an effort to make the world’s scientific code more open and reproducible. Learn more or sign up for free.
  • According to Clarivate Analytics' 2016 Journal Citation Report, TSE has an impact factor of 3.272.


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