Electrical and Computer Engineering Publications

Document Type


Publication Date





Information and Software Technology

First Page


URL with Digital Object Identifier


Last Page



Context: Lessons learned (LL) records constitute the software organization memory of successes and failures. LL are recorded within the organization repository for future reference to optimize planning, gain experience, and elevate market competitiveness. However, manually searching this repository is a daunting task, so it is often disregarded. This can lead to the repetition of previous mistakes or even missing potential opportunities. This, in turn, can negatively affect the organization’s profitability and competitiveness.

Objective: We aim to present a novel solution that provides an automatic process to recall relevant LL and to push those LL to project managers. This will dramatically save the time and effort of manually searching the unstructured LL repositories and thus encourage the LL exploitation.

Method: We exploit existing project artifacts to build the LL search queries on-the-fly in order to bypass the tedious manual searching. An empirical case study is conducted to build the automatic LL recall solution and evaluate its effectiveness. The study employs three of the most popular information retrieval models to construct the solution. Furthermore, a real-world dataset of 212 LL records from 30 different software projects is used for validation. Top-k and MAP well-known accuracy metrics are used as well.

Results: Our case study results confirm the effectiveness of the automatic LL recall solution. Also, the results prove the success of using existing project artifacts to dynamically build the search query string. This is supported by a discerning accuracy of about 70% achieved in the case of top-k.

Conclusion: The automatic LL recall solution is valid with high accuracy. It will eliminate the effort needed to manually search the LL repository. Therefore, this will positively encourage project managers to reuse the available LL knowledge – which will avoid old pitfalls and unleash hidden business opportunities.

Citation of this paper:

  1. Abdellatif T.M., Capretz L.F. and Ho D., Automatic Recall of Software Lessons Learned for Software Project Managers, Information and Software Technology, Volume 115, pp. 44-57, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.infsof.2019.07.006, Elsevier, November 2019.

Find in your library