NexGSD – Next Generation Technology for Global Software Development

The software development paradigm is changing with the rise of geographically distributed, global software development (GSD). Increasingly, organizations shift all or part of their software development offshore. Several studies show that compared to co‐located projects, GSD projects are more likely to be unsuccessful due to geographical, temporal, and cultural distances, which hampers close collaboration.

The NexGSD project aimed at providing knowledge and tools for organizations to excel in software development on a global scale. The two core contributions of this project was to;

  • understand challenges and opportunities in temporal, geographical, and cultural differences and develop new ways of conceptualizing and coping with cultural differences when managing complex GSD projects
  • design and empirically evaluate next generation GSD technologies that view GSD as collaboration rather than as outsourcing, and help software developers and end-users maintain a global awareness and a commitment to bridge across distances in software development

The project consisted of a strong interdisciplinary and international consortium of industrial and academic partners with substantial GSD experience – both from an industrial and a scientific point of view.

Findings

During the project, we did extensive studies of scrum teams in companies with different levels of scrum adoption [1, 2]. We observed both experienced scrum practitioners comfortably performing distributed stand-up meetings in dedicated rooms detached from the office in which the development team would spend most of its time, as well as more novice scrum adopters struggling while trying to fit, within distributed realities, practices that were originally intended for co-located teams. For an extensive treatment of these distributed cooperative setting, please see the book “Global Collaboration: Intercultural Experiences and Learning” [3].

Based on these studies, we designed tools for organizations to excel in software development on a global scale. In particular, we asked how collaborative technologies can help distributed teams to collaborate in a global software development process while maintaining an agile approach [4]. In this design process, we build on our long-term research into the design of multi-device co-located groupware systems based on the activity-based computing (ABC) paradigm [5, 6]. Specifically, we designed the following three tools:

  • the SideBar, which is a video conferencing system designed to facilitate so-called ‘relation work‘ [2] in distributed video meetings [7]
  • the Distributed SCRUM Board (dBoard), which is an interactive scrum board supporting both co-located and remote scrum processes like stand-up meetings [8]
  • the Approximator technology, which were able to predict interruptibility in distributed software development [9]

More technical details on these technologies can be found on the linked pages and papers. More information is available on the NexGSD home page.

SideBar is a video conferencing system designed to facilitate relation work in distributed video meetings. SideBar consists of a shared display and a personal tablet for each participant. The shared display is used for video and presenting meeting related material. The personal tablet provides an interactive mirrored video from the videoconference, in which each participant is identified and tracked. This allow you to identify the remote meeting participants, which ultimately prevents embarrassing questions like; “Excuse me, but I didn’t get your name”. Tapping the image of a person in the interactive video feed brings up a personal profile for that person. This profile contains personal and professional information and access to a communication backchannel.

Funding & Time Period

This research was funded byt the The Danish Council for Strategic Research from 2011–2016.

References

[1] P. Bjorn, M. Esbensen, R. E. Jensen, and S. Matthiesen, “Does distance still matter? Revisiting the CSCW fundamentals on distributed collaboration,” ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI), vol. 21, iss. 5, p. 27, 2014.
[Bibtex]
@article{bjorn2014does,
title={Does distance still matter? Revisiting the CSCW fundamentals on distributed collaboration},
author={Bjorn, Pernille and Esbensen, Morten and Jensen, Rasmus Eskild and Matthiesen, Stina},
journal={ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction (TOCHI)},
volume={21},
number={5},
pages={27},
year={2014},
publisher={ACM}
}
[2] P. Bjorn and L. R. Christensen, “Relation work: Creating socio-technical connections in global engineering,” in ECSCW 2011: Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 24-28 September 2011, Aarhus Denmark, 2011, p. 133–152.
[Bibtex]
@inproceedings{bjorn2011relation,
title={Relation work: Creating socio-technical connections in global engineering},
author={Bjorn, Pernille and Christensen, Lars Rune},
booktitle={ECSCW 2011: Proceedings of the 12th European Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, 24-28 September 2011, Aarhus Denmark},
pages={133--152},
year={2011},
organization={Springer}
}
[3] M. C. Gertsen, A. Soderberg, and M. Zolner, Global Collaboration: Intercultural Experiences and Learning, Springer, 2012.
[Bibtex]
@book{gertsen2012global,
title={{Global Collaboration: Intercultural Experiences and Learning}},
author={Martine Cardel Gertsen and Anne-Marie Soderberg and Mette Zolner},
year={2012},
publisher={Springer}
}
[4] [pdf] J. E. Bardram, “Activity-based Computing Support for Agile and Global Software Development,” in CSCW 2008 Workshop on Supporting Distributed Team Work (VRC2008), San Diego, CA, 2008.
[Bibtex]
@inproceedings{bardram2008VRC,
Address = {San Diego, CA},
Author = {Jakob E. Bardram},
Booktitle = {CSCW 2008 Workshop on Supporting Distributed Team Work (VRC2008)},
Month = nov,
Title = {{Activity-based Computing Support for Agile and Global Software Development}},
Url = {http://conway.isri.cmu.edu/~jdh/VRC-200},
Year = {2008},
}
[5] [pdf] [doi] J. E. Bardram, S. Gueddana, S. Houben, and S. Nielsen, “ReticularSpaces: activity-based computing support for physically distributed and collaborative smart spaces,” in Proceedings of the 2012 ACM annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, New York, NY, USA, 2012, p. 2845–2854.
[Bibtex]
@inproceedings{chi2012-bardram,
author = {Bardram, Jakob E and Gueddana, Sofiane and Houben, Steven and Nielsen, Sren},
title = {ReticularSpaces: activity-based computing support for physically distributed and collaborative smart spaces},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 2012 ACM annual conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems},
series = {CHI '12},
year = {2012},
isbn = {978-1-4503-1015-4},
location = {Austin, Texas, USA},
pages = {2845--2854},
numpages = {10},
url = {http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/2207676.2208689},
doi = {10.1145/2207676.2208689},
acmid = {2208689},
publisher = {ACM},
address = {New York, NY, USA},
keywords = {collaboration, distributed user interfaces, multiple display environments, nomadic computing, smart spaces},
tag={abc,conference},
pdf={p2845-bardram.pdf},
}
[6] [pdf] S. Houben, S. Nielsen, M. Esbensen, and J. E. Bardram, “NooSphere: an activity-centric infrastructure for distributed interaction,” in Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia, 2013, p. 13.
[Bibtex]
@inproceedings{houben2013noosphere,
title={NooSphere: an activity-centric infrastructure for distributed interaction},
author={Houben, Steven and Nielsen, S{\o}ren and Esbensen, Morten and Bardram, Jakob E},
booktitle={Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Mobile and Ubiquitous Multimedia},
pages={13},
year={2013},
organization={ACM},
tag={conference,abc,nexgsd}
}
[7] [pdf] M. Esbensen, P. Tell, and J. E. Bardram, “SideBar: Videoconferencing system supporting social engagement,” in 10th IEEE International Conference on Collaborative Computing: Networking, Applications and Worksharing, 2014, p. 358–367.
[Bibtex]
@inproceedings{esbensen2014sidebar,
title={{SideBar: Videoconferencing system supporting social engagement}},
author={Esbensen, Morten and Tell, Paolo and Bardram, Jakob E},
booktitle={10th IEEE International Conference on Collaborative Computing: Networking, Applications and Worksharing},
pages={358--367},
year={2014},
organization={IEEE}
}
[8] [pdf] M. Esbensen, P. Tell, J. B. Cholewa, M. K. Pedersen, and J. Bardram, “The dBoard: a digital scrum board for distributed software development,” in Proceedings of the 2015 International Conference on Interactive Tabletops & Surfaces, 2015, p. 161–170.
[Bibtex]
@inproceedings{esbensen2015dboard,
title={The dBoard: a digital scrum board for distributed software development},
author={Esbensen, Morten and Tell, Paolo and Cholewa, Jacob B and Pedersen, Mathias K and Bardram, Jakob},
booktitle={Proceedings of the 2015 International Conference on Interactive Tabletops \& Surfaces},
pages={161--170},
year={2015},
organization={ACM}
}
[9] [pdf] P. Tell, S. Jalaliniya, K. S. Andersen, M. D. Christensen, A. B. Mellson, and J. E. Bardram, “Approximator: Predicting Interruptibility in Software Development with Commodity Computers,” in Global Software Engineering (ICGSE), 2015 IEEE 10th International Conference on, 2015, p. 90–99.
[Bibtex]
@inproceedings{tell2015approximator,
title={Approximator: Predicting Interruptibility in Software Development with Commodity Computers},
author={Tell, Paolo and Jalaliniya, Shahram and Andersen, Kristian SM and Christensen, Mads D and Mellson, Anders B and Bardram, Jakob E},
booktitle={Global Software Engineering (ICGSE), 2015 IEEE 10th International Conference on},
pages={90--99},
year={2015},
organization={IEEE},
pdf={ICGSE15.Approximator.pdf},
tag={conference,nexgsd},
}