A Board Game to Teach Team Composition in Software Startups

  • Jorge MelegatiEmail author
  • Eduardo Guerra
  • Igor Knop
  • Xiaofeng Wang
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Business Information Processing book series (LNBIP, volume 370)


Startup education presence in Computer Science and Software Engineering curriculum has risen in the recent years. Currently, most reported courses focus on teaching innovation and business techniques and try to emulate real-world projects to convey the content. They have not focused on team composition which is a critical element for the success of startups since missing human capital increases the uncertainty involved in the process. In this paper, based on a literature review, we present a set of concepts about software startups team composition to be explored in a course. We also present a board game as a supplementary tool to convey these concepts. To evaluate the tool, we placed students in an artificial learning environment where they watched a video lesson about the topics and played the game. Then, participants answered a questionnaire about motivation, user experience, and perception of learning. The results indicate a first evidence of the value of the tool inducing a positive effect on learning as perceived by students.


Startup education Software engineering education Software startups Educational game 



The authors would like to thank all the students that participated in the study and to Eduardo Pompermayer for running some game sessions.


  1. 1.
    Baker, A., Navarro, E., van der Hoek, A.: Problems and Programmers: an educational software engineering card game, pp. 614–619 (2004).
  2. 2.
    Baker, A., Navarro, E.O., Van Der Hoek, A.: An experimental card game for teaching software engineering processes. J. Syst. Softw. 75(1–2), 3–16 (2005). Scholar
  3. 3.
    Boehm, B.W., Sullivan, K.J.: Software economics. In: Proceedings of the Conference on The Future of Software Engineering - ICSE 2000, pp. 319–343. ACM Press, New York (2000).
  4. 4.
    Buffardi, K., Robb, C., Rahn, D.: Tech Startups: Realistic Software Engineering Projects with Interdisciplinary Collaboration. Journal of Computing Sciences in Colleges 32(4), 93–98 (2017)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Chang, W.-C., Chen, Y.-L., Lee, T.-P.: Computer assisted learning with card game in system design concept. In: Leung, E.W.C., Wang, F.L., Miao, L., Zhao, J., He, J. (eds.) WBL 2008. LNCS, vol. 5328, pp. 93–101. Springer, Heidelberg (2008). Scholar
  6. 6.
    Chanin, R., Sales, A., Pompermaier, L., Prikladnicki, R.: A systematic mapping study on software startups education. In: 2018 Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering, EASE 2018, pp. 163–168 (2018).
  7. 7.
    Colombo, M.G., Grilli, L.: Founders’ human capital and the growth of new technology-based firms: a competence-based view. Res. Policy 34(6), 795–816 (2005). Scholar
  8. 8.
    Crowne, M.: Why software product startups fail and what to do about it. Evolution of software product development in startup companies. In: IEEE International Engineering Management Conference, vol. 1, pp. 338–343 (2002).
  9. 9.
    Daimi, K., Rayess, N.: The role of software entrepreneurship in computer science curriculum. In: Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Frontiers in Education: Computer Science and Computer Engineering, FECS 2008, August 2008, pp. 332–338 (2008)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Djaouti, D., Alvarez, J., Jessel, J.P., Rampnoux, O.: Origins of serious games. In: Ma, M., Oikonomou, A., Jain, L. (eds.) Serious Games and Edutainment Applications, pp. 25–43. Springer, London (2011). Scholar
  11. 11.
    Fagerholm, F., Hellas, A., Luukkainen, M., Kyllönen, K., Yaman, S., Mäenpää, H.: Designing and implementing an environment for software start-up education: patterns and anti-patterns. J. Syst. Softw. 146, 1–13 (2018). Scholar
  12. 12.
    Ford, R.M., Goodrich, J.G., Weissbach, R.S.: A multidisciplinary business and engineering course in product development and entrepreneurship. In: Proceedings of Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 1, T2E/5-T2E10, vol. 1 (2004).
  13. 13.
    Joint Task Force on Computing Curricula, Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and IEEE Computer Society: Computer Science Curricula: Curriculum Guidelines for Undergraduate Degree Programs in Computer Science, 999133. ACM, New York (2013)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Kisfalvi, V.: The entrepreneur’s character, life issues, and strategy making. J. Bus. Ventur. 17(5), 489–518 (2002). Scholar
  15. 15.
    Kollmann, T.: What is e-entrepreneurship? Fundamentals of company founding in the net economy. Int. J. Technol. Manag. 33(4), 322 (2006). Scholar
  16. 16.
    Kosa, M., Yilmaz, M., O’Connor, R.V., Clarke, P.M.: Software engineering education and games: a systematic literature review. J. Univers. Comput. Sci. 22(12), 1558–1574 (2016)Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Maglyas, A., Nikula, U., Smolander, K.: What are the roles of software product managers? An empirical investigation. J. Syst. Softw. 86(12), 3071–3090 (2013). Scholar
  18. 18.
    Muñoz-Bullon, F., Sanchez-Bueno, M.J., Vos-Saz, A.: Startup team contributions and new firm creation: the role of founding team experience. Entrep. Reg. Dev. 27(1–2), 80–105 (2015). Scholar
  19. 19.
    Paternoster, N., Giardino, C., Unterkalmsteiner, M., Gorschek, T., Abrahamsson, P.: Software development in startup companies: A systematic mapping study. Inf. Softw. Technol. 56(10), 1200–1218 (2014). Scholar
  20. 20.
    Petri, G., Gresse von Wangenheim, C.: How games for computing education are evaluated? A systematic literature review. Comput. Educ. 107, 68–90 (2017). Scholar
  21. 21.
    Petri, G., Gresse von Wangenheim, C., Borgatto, A.F.: MEEGA+, systematic model to evaluate educational games. In: Lee, N. (ed.) Encyclopedia of Computer Graphics and Games, pp. 1–7. Springer, Cham (2018). Scholar
  22. 22.
    Petri, G., Von Wangenheim, C.G., Borgatto, A.F.: A large-scale evaluation of a model for the evaluation of games for teaching software engineering. In: Proceedings of 2017 IEEE/ACM 39th International Conference on Software Engineering: Software Engineering and Education Track, ICSE-SEET 2017, pp. 180–189 (2017).
  23. 23.
    Ratzinger, D., Amess, K., Greenman, A., Mosey, S.: The impact of digital start-up founders’ higher education on reaching equity investment milestones. J. Technol. Transf. 43(3), 1–19 (2017). Scholar
  24. 24.
    Ruef, M., Aldrich, H.E., Carter, N.M.: The structure of founding teams: homophily, strong ties, and isolation among U.S. entrepreneurs. Am. Sociol. Rev. 68(2), 195 (2003). Scholar
  25. 25.
    Sarasvathy, S.D., Venkataraman, S.: Entrepreneurship as method: open questions for an entrepreneurial future. Entrep. Theory Pract. 35(1), 113–135 (2011). Scholar
  26. 26.
    Seppänen, P., Liukkunen, K., Oivo, M.: Little big team: acquiring human capital in software startups. In: Turhan, B., et al. (eds.) PROFES 2017. LNCS, vol. 10611, pp. 280–296. Springer, Cham (2017). Scholar
  27. 27.
    Seppänen, P., Liukkunen, K., Oivo, M.: Opportunity exploitation in software startups. A human capital view. In: Wnuk, K., Brinkkemper, S. (eds.) ICSOB 2018. LNBIP, vol. 336, pp. 142–156. Springer, Cham (2018). Scholar
  28. 28.
    Seppänen, P., Oivo, M., Liukkunen, K.: The initial team of a software startup. In: 2016 International Conference on Engineering, Technology and Innovation (ICE) and IEEE International Technology Management Conference, pp. 57–65 (2016)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Shepherd, D.A., Douglas, E.J., Shanley, M.: New venture survival. J. Bus. Ventur. 15(5–6), 393–410 (2000). Scholar
  30. 30.
    Taran, G.: Using games in software engineering education to teach risk management. In: Proceedings of Software Engineering Education Conference, pp. 211–218 (2007).
  31. 31.
    Unterkalmsteiner, M., et al.: Software startups - a research agenda. e-Informatica Softw. Eng. J. 10(1), 1–28 (2016).
  32. 32.
    Vitolo, T.M., Hersch, K.E., Brinkman, B.J.: Making the connection: successful cross campus collaboration among students. In: 2016 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE), October–November 2016, vol. 2016, pp. 1–7. IEEE (2016).
  33. 33.
    Von Wangenheim, C., Shull, F.: To game or not to game? IEEE Softw. 26(2), 92–94 (2009). Scholar
  34. 34.
    Von Wangenheim, C.G., Savi, R., Borgatto, A.F.: SCRUMIA - an educational game for teaching SCRUM in computing courses. J. Syst. Softw. 86(10), 2675–2687 (2013). Scholar
  35. 35.
    Wang, X., Edison, H., Bajwa, S.S., Giardino, C., Abrahamsson, P.: Key challenges in software startups across life cycle stages. In: Sharp, H., Hall, T. (eds.) XP 2016. LNBIP, vol. 251, pp. 169–182. Springer, Cham (2016). Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Free University of Bozen-BolzanoBolzanoItaly
  2. 2.National Institute for Space Research (INPE)Sao Jose dos CamposBrazil
  3. 3.Universidade Federal de Juiz de Fora (UFJF)Juiz de ForaBrazil

Personalised recommendations