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Communication and Organization: An Empirical Study of Discussion in Inspection Meetings
July 1998 (vol. 24 no. 7)
pp. 559-572

Abstract—This paper describes an empirical study that addresses the issue of communication among members of a software development organization. In particular, data was collected concerning code inspections in one software development project. The question of interest is whether or not organizational structure (the network of relationships between developers) has an effect on the amount of effort expended on communication between developers. The independent variables in this study are various attributes of the organizational structure in which the inspection participants work. The dependent variables are measures of the communication effort expended in various parts of the code inspection process, focusing on the inspection meeting. Both quantitative and qualitative methods were used, including participant observation, structured interviews, generation of hypotheses from field notes, statistical tests of relationships, and interpretation of results with qualitative anecdotes. The study results show that past and present working relationships between inspection participants affect the amount of meeting time spent in different types of discussion, thus affecting the overall inspection meeting length. Reporting relationships and physical proximity also have an effect. The contribution of the study is a set of well-supported hypotheses for further investigation.

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Index Terms:
Communication, defects, empirical study, inspections, organizational structure, process, productivity.
Citation:
Carolyn B. Seaman, Victor R. Basili, "Communication and Organization: An Empirical Study of Discussion in Inspection Meetings," IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 24, no. 7, pp. 559-572, July 1998, doi:10.1109/32.708569
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