Collaboration Patterns in Distributed Software Development Projects

Author(s): Igor Cavrak, Marin Orlic, Ivica Crnkovic
Venue: International Conference on Software Engineering
Date: 2012

Type of Experiement: Survey/Multi-Case Study
Sample Size: 14
Class/Experience Level: Undergraduate Student, Graduate Student
Participant Selection: student classwork
Data Collection Method: Observation, Survey


This paper presents some work related to collaboration on distributed software development projects. The paper aims to identify the contributing factors to collaboration on distributed teams, as well as define a framework for a course to educate students on how to achieve successful collaboration in such an environment. The importance of factors such as cultural diversity, time zone management, and personal contact are discussed. The proposed course framework aims to address all of these factors in order to familiarize students with their importance.

A Distributed Software Development (DSD) course is an elective course developed as a result of cooperation between the University of Zagreb and the University of Mälardalen. The course has been run since the academic year of 2003/2004, and data from the course is used as evidence in this paper. The paper uncovers several collaboration patterns as a result of data from the DSD course, and their strengths and weaknesses are identified. It is shown that, while not definitive, identifying a team's collaboration pattern can indicate project success.