The Role of Awareness in Software Projects

University essay from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Sektionen för datavetenskap och kommunikation; Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Sektionen för datavetenskap och kommunikation

Abstract: Global software development is more challenging than the collocated software development. It requires extra effort to provide necessary information for coordinating the tasks activities which is natural in a collocated environment. Regardless of the task domain, team awareness (task awareness and presence awareness) is essential for coordinating the task activities both in collocated and distributed teams. As distance between the teams grows it requires disseminating the awareness information among team members to support coordination. In this study, we investigate how does the team awareness interact with other team cognition mechanisms like familiarity (i.e. task familiarity and team familiarity) and shared mental models (i.e. shared mental models of the task and shared mental models of the team). We also see how familiarity and shared mental models interact with each other. Then, we conjure its implications on coordination and team performance. Further, we investigate the level of team awareness on four segments of distance which are defined based on the distance between the pairs of teams (i.e. from collocated teams to the teams that are distributed across different time-zones). We used snowballing technique (i.e. forward snowballing and backward snowballing) for the literature review and conducted survey and semi-structures interviews for data collection. We found that team awareness has a positive effect on team cognition mechanisms (familiarity and shared mental models) and consequently has positive implications on coordination. Therefore, we postulate that team performance improves by providing the necessary awareness information to the software development teams. We found that, in addition to distance, there are other factors like task size, team size, team type and communication that also affect the team awareness in collocated and distributed collaborative software development teams. Finally, we presented a list of factors that can be incorporated in collaborative learning and development tools.

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