User satisfaction and system success: an empirical exploration of user involvement in software development


For over four decades user involvement has been considered intuitively to lead to user satisfaction, which plays a pivotal role in successful outcome of a software project. The objective of this paper is to explore the notion of user satisfaction within the context of the user involvement and system success relationship. We have conducted a longitudinal case study of a software development project and collected qualitative data by means of interviews, observations and document analysis over a period of 3 years. The analysis of our case study data revealed that user satisfaction significantly contributes to the system success even when schedule and budget goals are not met. The case study data analysis also presented additional factors that contribute to the evolution of user satisfaction throughout the project. Users’ satisfaction with their involvement and the resulting system are mutually constituted while the level of user satisfaction evolves throughout the stages of software development process. Effective management strategies and user representation are essential elements of maintaining an acceptable level of user satisfaction throughout software development process.

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  1. 1.

    Only the first case study is presented in this paper; the data from the second case study is currently undergoing analysis and the results will be published in the future.

  2. 2.

    The real name of this organization cannot be mentioned due to ethical considerations and a non-disclosure agreement signed by the researchers.


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We would like to express our gratitude to the ASG management and staff for allowing us to conduct this study. We also acknowledge the funding provided to Muneera Bano by the University of Technology Sydney, and Schlumberger award of the Faculty For The Future (FFTF).

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Muneera Bano.

Additional information

Communicated by: Magne Jørgensen, Mika Mäntylä, Paul Ralph and Hakan Erdogmus

Appendix A: Interview Guide Questions

Appendix A: Interview Guide Questions

Questions for First Phase of Interviews

General Questions

1. What is your position title in the organization? Perhaps explain what are the core tasks you perform daily.

2. How long have you been with this organization? Have you always been in the same position?

3. What is your role in this project?

4. Are you going to be a main user of the system being developed?

5. Are you a key stakeholder in the system being developed?

6. If the answer is yes to 4 and 5, how would you/your team benefit from the system? Your anticipation of overall benefit of the system.

Involvement in the Software Development Lifecycle

7. Please explain your involvement in this project from the beginning till now? When did you start? What is the nature of your involvement?

8. What would be the nature of your involvement from now till the end of the software development?

9. Who in the organization decides about the involvement of appropriate personnel in the software development project?

10. To what extent have you contributed to the scoping and requirements gathering process in this project so far?

11. Are you likely to be consulted again about the system from now on?


12. Can you comment on the communication channels between the core project team? And between this team and those external to the project team, in particular stakeholders.

13. What form of communications is mostly used?

E.g. (a) Face to Face: One on one (BA talking to individual stakeholders to elicit requirements), One to many (BA talking to a group of stakeholders), Facilitated Workshops (where an independent facilitator is involved between development team and stakeholders), focused groups,

(b) Emails, Telephone, Fax

(c) feedback via web sites/SNS, e.g., skype

14. Are you satisfied with the extent and degree of users involvement in this project so far?

15. If not, why not? If yes, why?

16. Is there anything that could be done differently to improve the process of scoping and requirements gathering and analysis?

Change/Change Management

17. Are there any/many business process changes in the new system?

18. Have these changes been identified at the outset and documented?

19. Is there a change management process in place to ensure the smooth roll out of the new system? If so, how are the users involved, informed, consulted about the potential changes to:

Business processes

New/modified workflows

20. Is there any training planned for the users? If so, who is in charge? Has the plan been articulated and consulted with users?

Post Implementation Interview Questions


1. How was this done? Process followed?

2. Who was involved? Level of involvement? Sign off?

3. How many rounds of UAT?

4. Did you develop any test scenarios?


5. How was it carried out? Who was involved?

6. Quality?

7. Quantity?

8. Are you satisfied?

9. Documentation?

User Manual

10. Is there any?

11. When was it prepared/given to users?

12. Quality?

Post Implementation Review

13. When? How? Will they be involved?

14. User feedback sought? How? When?

Changes to Business Process/work Flow

15. Were there many?

16. Did you know about them before the system went live?

17. Any frustrations, interruptions to existing work, impacts over your work, possible delays?

Overall Satisfaction with the System

18. Are you generally satisfied with the delivered system?

19. Do you feel that your voices as users have been heard and taken into account?

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Bano, M., Zowghi, D. & da Rimini, F. User satisfaction and system success: an empirical exploration of user involvement in software development. Empir Software Eng 22, 2339–2372 (2017).

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  • User Involvement
  • User Satisfaction
  • System Success
  • Software Development