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A Theory of Distances in Software Engineering

Bjarnason, Elizabeth LU ; Smolander, Kari; Engström, Emelie LU and Runeson, Per LU (2016) In Information and Software Technology 70. p.204-219
Abstract
[Context] Coordinating a software project across distances is challenging. Even without geographical and time zone distances, other distances within a project can cause communication gaps. For example, organisational and cognitive distances between product owners and development-near roles such as developers and testers can lead to differences in understanding and interpretation of the business requirements. Applying good software development practices, known to enhance alignment and coordination within development projects, can alleviate these challenges.

[Objective] The aim of our research is to identify and describe underlying factors which can explain why certain practices support aligning and coordinating software... (More)
[Context] Coordinating a software project across distances is challenging. Even without geographical and time zone distances, other distances within a project can cause communication gaps. For example, organisational and cognitive distances between product owners and development-near roles such as developers and testers can lead to differences in understanding and interpretation of the business requirements. Applying good software development practices, known to enhance alignment and coordination within development projects, can alleviate these challenges.

[Objective] The aim of our research is to identify and describe underlying factors which can explain why certain practices support aligning and coordinating software development projects.

[Method] We have inductively generated a theory analysing empirical data consisting of 15 interviews from 5 different companies. The systematic and iterative analysis was based on an initial hypothesis that distances affect development, and on results from previous research.

[Results] We present a theory of distances that explains how practices improve the communication within a project by impacting distances between people, activities and artefacts. We also present a theoretical model of how specific alignment practices affect different types of distances.

[Conclusions] The results provide a basis for further research and can be used by software organisations to improve on software practice. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
distances, human factors, verification, requirements engineering, empirical software engineering, theory
in
Information and Software Technology
volume
70
pages
204 - 219
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • wos:000367697600015
  • scopus:84949539322
ISSN
0950-5849
DOI
10.1016/j.infsof.2015.05.004
project
EASE
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
bd3215d8-d05c-41f5-9613-b654575cc252 (old id 7763701)
date added to LUP
2015-08-18 11:01:57
date last changed
2017-04-02 03:40:12
@article{bd3215d8-d05c-41f5-9613-b654575cc252,
  abstract     = {[Context] Coordinating a software project across distances is challenging. Even without geographical and time zone distances, other distances within a project can cause communication gaps. For example, organisational and cognitive distances between product owners and development-near roles such as developers and testers can lead to differences in understanding and interpretation of the business requirements. Applying good software development practices, known to enhance alignment and coordination within development projects, can alleviate these challenges. <br/><br>
[Objective] The aim of our research is to identify and describe underlying factors which can explain why certain practices support aligning and coordinating software development projects. <br/><br>
[Method] We have inductively generated a theory analysing empirical data consisting of 15 interviews from 5 different companies. The systematic and iterative analysis was based on an initial hypothesis that distances affect development, and on results from previous research. <br/><br>
[Results] We present a theory of distances that explains how practices improve the communication within a project by impacting distances between people, activities and artefacts. We also present a theoretical model of how specific alignment practices affect different types of distances. <br/><br>
[Conclusions] The results provide a basis for further research and can be used by software organisations to improve on software practice.},
  author       = {Bjarnason, Elizabeth and Smolander, Kari and Engström, Emelie and Runeson, Per},
  issn         = {0950-5849},
  keyword      = {distances,human factors,verification,requirements engineering,empirical software engineering,theory},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {204--219},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Information and Software Technology},
  title        = {A Theory of Distances in Software Engineering},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.infsof.2015.05.004},
  volume       = {70},
  year         = {2016},
}