Improving coordination in software development through social and technical network analysis


Amrit, Chintan (2008) Improving coordination in software development through social and technical network analysis. thesis.

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Abstract:Today’s dynamic and distributed development environment brings significant challenges
for software project management. In distributed project settings, “management by walking
around” is no longer an option, and project managers may miss out on key project insights.
At the same time, the high coordination requirements caused by the dynamic distributed
environment can cause many coordination difficulties and can even lead to coordination
breakdowns. In response to some of these problems, researchers have developed detailed
patterns for describing the preferred relationships between the team communication structure
(the social network) and the technical software architecture. We call such patterns
Socio-Technical Patterns. As they capture a wide variety of knowledge and experience
Socio, Technical and Socio-Technical Patterns (or Socio/Technical Patterns in short) are
potentially very useful for the project manager in planning and monitoring complex development
projects. However, these patterns are hard to implement and monitor in practice.
The reason behind this is that it is difficult to find coordination problems in order to apply
the solutions provided by the Socio/Technical Patterns, as purely manual techniques are
labour intensive. Especially within dynamic and iterative distributed environments, the use
of Socio/Technical Patterns is challenging. But, even in small companies, employing between
20 and 50 developers (ref Chapter 5 and 6), the social network and the relation to the
software tasks can get quite complicated for the software manager to track. As part of the
TESNA (TEchnical Social Network Analysis) project, we have developed a method and a
tool that a project manager can use in order to identify specific coordination problems that
we call Socio/Technical Structure Clashes (STSCs). We have evaluated the TESNA
method and tool in two commercial case studies (Chapters 5 and 6) and multiple case studies
in the Open Source development environment (Chapter 7).
Item Type:Thesis
Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social sciences (BMS)
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