Dr. Yvonne Dittrich, professor

Software Engineering Group
IT University of Copenhagen

Rued Langaardsvej 7
DK 2300 Copenhagen S Denmark
+45-7218-5177 (tel)


Cooperative and Human Aspects of Software Engineering

Software Engineering is done by people for people; Cooperative and Human Aspects, therefore, is at the core of software engineering. Over the last 15 years, I have continuously contributed to the development and shaping of a now established community through the editing of special issues and continuous commitment as workshop co-organiser, PC member and contributor.

During the last years, I got interested in exploring Continuous Software Engineering (CSE), which is a major game changer for the IT industry. CSE originated from the need to fulfill quality of service requirements in large online service providers like Google, Amazon, and Facebook. Companies in other sectors; e.g.; financial institutions and embedded systems; also pursue the potentials of CSE, but the transition is complex including changes technology and tools, organizational structure, processes, and management. CSE challenges the current knowledge about how to organize, structure and coordinate software engineering.

Cooperative Method Development

In order to create usable and useful software engineering methods, I have developed a research approach ‘Cooperate Method Development’ that combines qualitative empirical research with method, tools and process improvement. The research approach has been successfully applied in a series of research projects in cooperation with industry in Sweden and Denmark. It is internationally known as a qualitative alternative to experiment based empirical research.

Use Orientation in Software Engineering

How to make useful things with software? Lack of usability and usefulness are still the major reasons for failed IT projects. Though many researchers address HCI and User Experience, very few do so from a software engineering point of view. My major contribution here is to address the usability of the methods for use oriented design and development of software and the cooperation between users and developers in software engineering. This has also resulted in a research focus on software ecosystems (Dittrich 2014) around extendable and configurable software products.

Cathrine Seidelin, Eric Grönvall and I explore how to domain experts can be enabled to develop their data-based services in a project on Big Data Service Design with Industriens Uddannelser, a educational secreteriat responsible for the development of vocational education and training for the industrial sector. The Industrial PhD project is supported by the Innovation Foundation and Industriens Uddannelser.

Two of my PhD students come from Ethiopia: Degif Teka has finished his PhD on the inclusion of User Centered Design in Agile Development. Amanuel Zewge is about to finish his PhD on Participatory Design of Software supporting Farmers in Rural Ethiopia.

End-User Development and Design-In-Use

End-User Development (EUD), that means technologies and methods that promote domain experts to tailor their applications, and the continuous design-in-use developed as topics out of the empirical research projects. Also in this area, I engaged in community development. I have hosted the International Consortium on End User Development in Copenhagen in 2013, and I edited a special issue of the Journal for Visual Languages and Computing in 2017. My research here bridges from technical implementations and software processes to EUD practices and organisational IT management.


Current courses for the M.Sc. programs at the IT University:

  • Advanced Software Engineering
  • Cross Disciplinary Teamwork
  • And 2 lectures in the reflection on IT course

I am always interested to supervise Master Theses that are related to one of the above topics. Examples from the last years are:

  • Architectural Decisions in Software Ecosystems by Henrik Buch-Larsen
  • A modified Triple Helix approach to support innovation in WAsP by Florin Lea Geier
  • Empowering git repositories with visualization tools to aid awareness of dependencies in open source by Johan Hansen and Simon Juhl Andersen
  • Agile Processes in a Distributed Company by Pernille Lou
  • The Practice of Changing Practices by Christian Michelsen

How did I get there?

I studied computer science at the Technical University Darmstadt, Germany. 1997, I finished my Ph.D. at the Department of Computer Science, Hamburg University, with Prof. Christiane Floyd as a supervisor. Thereafter I spend seven years in Ronneby Sweden. I have been working at the Blekinge Institute of Technology. My colleague Olle Lindeberg and I, started up a small but ambitious research group: Use Oriented Design and Developing of Software. In August 2003, I started to work at the  IT-University in Copenhagen, currently I am member of the software development group.

Beside that I am member of the Forum InformatikerInnen für Frieden und Gesellschaftliche Verantwortung the German sister organisation of the CPSR Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility .

And I am interested in Gender and Equality issues.

The job might be most of the life time, but it is not all - Or?

  • Music. I love to listen to music, classical, jazz, and a lot more. Copenhagn is wonderful 
  • Cooking for my friends. I definitely like to have guests. Sometimes they have to stand my experiments. But most of them come again :-)
  • I read every kind of stuff, sometimes. I am a declared fan of Peter Høeg.
  • In Copenhagen, I learned how to sail - its a lot of fun. I My most adventurous sailing trip was to the South Pacific. (See pictures below.)
  • Even as I have a car now, I cycle - and sail and swim and hike and am lazy outdoors
  • and yoga, and ...

Gosh, there is really a lot, when you start writing about it.

This is a picture from Moorea. The yukon is the wooden sailing vessel in the bay, closest to land.

... this and this is my favorite sunset picture...
























Address: Software Engineering Group, IT-University Copenhagen, Rued Langaards Vej 7,
2300 Copenhagen S, Denmark 
Page responsible:
Yvonne Dittrich Page updated: January 2021