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Global Software Development Main issue: distance matters
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 2 Collocated versus global/multisite Collocated: housed within walking distance People reinvent the wheel if they have to walk more than 30 meters, or climb the stairs Main question: how to overcome distance in global projects: Communication Coordination Control
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 3 Arguments for global software development Cost savings Faster delivery (“follow the sun”) Larger pool of developers Better modularization Little proof that these advantages materialize
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 4 Challenges communication coordination control temporalgeographicalsociocultural distance X X X X X X X
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 5 Temporal distance challenges Communication: Being effective (asynchronous is less effective, misunderstandings, …) Coordination: Cost is larger (travels, infrastructure cost, …) Control: Delays (wait for next teleconference meeting, send email and wait, search for contact, …)
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 6 Geographical distance challenges Communication: Effective information exchange (less informal exchange, different languages, different domain knowledge, …) Build a team (cohesiveness, “them and us” feelings, trust, …) Coordination: Task awareness (shared mental model, …) Sense of urgency (perception, …) Control: Accurate status information (tracking, blaming, …) Uniform process (different tools and techniques, …)
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 7 Geographical distance: awareness Activity awareness: What are the others doing? Availability awareness: When can I reach them? Process awareness: What are they doing? Perspective awareness: What are the others thinking, and why? Improving awareness and familiarity with other members helps!
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 8 Sociocultural distance challenges Communication: Cultural misunderstandings (corporate, technical, national, …) Coordination: Effectiveness (vocabulary, communication style, …) Control: Quality and expertise (CMM level 5 does not guarantee quality)
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 9 National culture American managers have a hamburger style of management. They start with sweet talk – the top of the bun. Then the criticism is slipped in – the meat. Finally, some encouraging words – the bottom bun. With the Germans, all one gets is the meat. With the Japanese, all one gets is the bun; one has to smell the meat.
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 10 Hofstede’s dimensions Power distance status is important versus individuals are equal Collectivism versus individualism Individuals are part of a group, or everyone looks after himself Femininity versus masculinity Earnings, challenges, recognition (masculine) versus good relationships, cooperation, security (feminine) Uncertainty avoidance Strict rules that mitigate uncertainty versus more flexible Long-term versus short-term orientation Persistence in pursuing goals, order (LT) versus protecting one’s face, tradition (ST) # # #
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 11 Power distance North America, Europe: managers have to convince their team members Asia: people respect authority
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 12 Collectivism versus individualism Asia: personal relationships are more important than the task at hand North-America, Europe: very task-oriented IDV (Individualism Index) differs
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 13 Uncertainty avoidance Low uncertainty avoidance (UAI): can better cope with uncertainty: they can deal with agile approaches, il-defined requirements, etc. High uncertainty avoidance: favor waterfall, contracts, etc. Latin America, Japan: high UAI North America, India: low UAI
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 14 How to overcome distance? Common ground Coupling of work Collaboration readiness Technology readiness
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 15 Common ground How much common knowledge members have, and are aware of Common ground has to be established: Traveling, especially at start of project Socialization (kick-off meetings) Intense interaction is more important for success than CMM level
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 16 Coupling of work Tasks that require much collaboration: at same site Little interaction required: different sites E.g., testing or implementing relatively independent subsystems
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 17 Collaboration readiness Transition to global development organization: Requires changing work habits Learning new tools Needs incentives for individuals to cooperate
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 18 Technology readiness Project management tools (workflow management) Web-enabled versions of tools Remote control of builds and tests Web-based project repositories Real-time collaboration tools (simple media for simple messages, rich media for complex ones) Knowledge management technology (codification AND personalization)
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 19 Organizing work in global software development Reduce the need for informal communication Usually through organizational means, e.g.: Put user interface people together Use gross structure (architecture) to divide work (Conway’s Law) Split according to life cycle phases Provide technologies that ease informal communication
SE, Global Software Development, Hans van Vliet, ©2008 20 Summary Distance matters Main challenges: Deal with lack of informal communication Handle cultural differences
Global Software Development Main issue: distance matters ©2008 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. vliet.
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