Improving coordination in software development through social and technical network analysis

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis - Research UT, graduation UT

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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).
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Twente
  • van Hillegersberg, Jos, Supervisor
Award date3 Dec 2008
Place of PublicationEnschede
Print ISBNs978-90-365-2776-7
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2008


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