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Achieving agreement with respect to software requirements is a collaborative process that traditionally relies on same-time, same-place interactions. As the trend towards geographically distributed software development continues, co-located meetings are becoming increasingly problematic. Our research investigates the impact of computer-mediated communication on the performance of distributed client/developer teams involved in collaborative development of a requirements specification. Drawing on media selection theories, we posit that a combination of lean and rich media is needed for an effective process of requirements negotiations when stakeholders are geographically dispersed. In this paper we present an empirical study which investigates the performance of six educational global project teams of which negotiation process used both asynchronous text-based as well as synchronous videoconferencing-based communication modes. Findings indicate that requirements negotiations are more effective when the groups conducted asynchronous structured discussion of requirements issues prior to the synchronous negotiation meeting. Asynchronous discussions were useful in resolving issues related to uncertainty in requirements, thus allowing synchronous negotiations to focus more on removing ambiguities in the requirements.
Requirements/Specifications, Distributed/Internet based software engineering tools and techniques, Experimental design, Asynchronous interaction, Synchronous interaction
Daniela Damian, Filippo Lanubile, Teresa Mallardo, "On the Need for Mixed Media in Distributed Requirements Negotiations", IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, vol. 34, no. , pp. 116-132, January 2008, doi:10.1109/TSE.2007.70758
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