DFG-Project TeamFLOW

The project has been approved by DFG in 2015 and interdisciplinarily elaborates on communication in software projects.

 

Project Name TeamFLOW: Interaction and Communication in Distributed Software Teams
Project Duration 2 years
Sponsor German Research Foundation (DFG) (Project Description)
Contact Jil Klünder, Fabian Kortum und Kurt Schneider

Motivation

Development tasks have become too large and complex to be managed by single developers. Therefore, software engineering requires team work. In software teams, information like requirements and decisions needs to be passed on continuously in order to be able to implement customer requirements correctly. Insufficient communication about requirements is one of the factors that lead to project failure. In this project the term "requirements compliance" is used to indicate the accordance of demanded with implemented requirements. Implementation of superfluous features is unfavorable as well, because it binds unnecessary implementation capacities.

Effective communication is crucial to project success. However, close and direct communication is costly. Distributed software teams cannot travel permanently in order to work together at one location. It is necessary to balance appropriate media and communication paths. So far, project leaders need to rely on their intuition or simply follow guidelines of their companies. 

Project Goals

The TeamFLOW project aims at developing a diagnosis procedure for evaluating communication and interaction in distributed software development teams. Teams are enabled to assess whether project success is at risk due to lacking or inadequate communication. Users of the diagnosis procedure are supposed to recognize tendencies in time before project success starts to degrade.

Our interdisciplinary approach allows us to create a diagnosis procedure that combines different sources of information such as information flow, personal ratings, and direct measurement of behavior. The above-mentioned diagnosis procedure is based on an empirical longitudinal study of 40 software projects.

The completed DFG project InfoFLOW produced a method for capturing and improving the flow of documented information along with verbal and direct communication in one common model. In TeamFLOW, information flow and team members’ moods are captured on a weekly basis in order to examine interdependencies between information flows and moods. Video- based evaluation of early team meetings is performed by means of the “advanced interaction analysis 4 teams” instrument (advanced during DFG project Competence as a Key to Successful Teamwork). This allows for an assessment of the interaction behavior in meetings and its impact on the project’s success throughout the further course of the project.

Publication

Further References on TeamFLOW

Poster

Students' theses