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Human Aspects in Software Engineering - Dynamics in making Group Decisions

Gil Taran
Institute for Software Research International, Carnegie Mellon University


Newell-Simon Hall 1305 (Michael Mauldin Auditorium)


Software projects usually require people to make numerous decisions in very diverse areas from technical details to organizational and behavioral issues. Group decisions often take a mind of their own to the point where individual opinions may not be communicated or get misunderstood resulting in poor or potentially wrong decisions being made.

In trying to make better decisions, leaders and managers asses the risk factors involved as part of the overall decision process. Impediments and potential pitfalls are thus important to understand as that might negatively impact the end result.

The purpose of this interactive talk is to explore situations where poor decisions are made in contrary and despite what individual group members see as a positive outcome and understand the potential barriers (psychological, personal or contextual) that are in play and how to avoid them. Areas of human decision making, group dynamics and risk management will be discussed and highlighted.

Speaker's Bio

Gil Taran is a faculty member in the Master of Software Engineering program at Carnegie Mellon University - School of Computer Science. For the past few years, Mr. Taran’s teaching focus has been Human Aspects of Software Engineering, Information security and project and risk management. He is currently teaching in both the on campus and distance education MSE/MSIT programs.

Mr. Taran has experience in planning, development and management of large-scale multi-national projects working mostly with government clients in the financial, operational and defense sectors. He has worked on production as well as simulated systems and is knowledgeable in a variety of computing environments.

Mr. Taran earned his bachelor’s degrees in Economics and in English at the university of Tel-Aviv, and he holds a Masters of Sciences in Information Technology from Carnegie Mellon University. His research interests include software security, risk based decision making, project management simulations and managing technical people.

Over the past four years, Mr. Taran has been heavily involved in setting up educational software engineering partnerships in Eastern Europe (specifically Russia, Ukraine and Belarus) as well as in Israel. He is also involved in helping the ISRI Executive Education office set up worldwide partnerships and executive education opportunities in Software Engineering.