Large v Small Organization Software Development: Are Software Development Best Practices One-Size Fits All?


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This research examines the differences in the way large and small organizations approach software development to better understanding if small organizations should attempt to model large organizations' practices. Practices examined include software development methodology, development tooling, how organizations deal with legacy software, documentation practices, testing practices, and how organizations differ in their code and development practice quality metrics. Mixed method research was applied starting with a qualitative semi-structured survey of 11 participants followed by a broader quantitative survey. Our analysis showed differences that could be statistically tracked to organization size in 4 of the 6 practices researched. Semi-structured interview responses did not always match results from the survey, indicating there may be common misconceptions that do not match reality when it comes to how large and small organizations operate. In one significant finding, a statistical correlation was discovered between large organization size, worker specialization, and the use of formal test plans on a low change failure rate.