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Computación y Sistemas

Print version ISSN 1405-5546


PALACIO CINCO, Ramón René; MORAN Y SOLARES, Alberto L.  and  GONZALEZ Y GONZALEZ, Víctor Manuel. Support for Starting Collaboration in Distributed Software Development through Collaborative Working Spheres. Comp. y Sist. [online]. 2014, vol.18, n.4, pp.787-808. ISSN 1405-5546.

This paper studies work environments where groups of people interact synchronously and remotely (distributed) with the purpose of creating and developing software within the institutional framework of an organization, in what is known as distributed software development (DSD). In this type of collaborative schemes, developers are required to work in groups that are geographically distributed and their interaction is usually conducted with the support of information and communication technologies. It is common that collaborative technologies are not designed to support what we call informed collaboration initiation, i.e., scenarios where the initiator of the collaboration can have the information of the activity that is being performed by the person he/she is looking for, with which the initiator can infer whether the time to start is optimal and appropriate for both of them. To achieve this it is necessary to know the context of the activity of the person that is being looked for at a given moment. To support the initiation of informed collaboration, the conceptualization and technological characterization of collaborative working spheres is proposed, which provides design ideas for the development of a prototype tool. We call this tool CWS-IM (Collaborative Working Spheres - Instant Messaging). The tool is an extended instant messenger with support for the initiation of informed collaboration, which was introduced to the actual activities of DSD in a software factory in order to evaluate it through a case study. The results of this evaluation show the favorable acceptance of CWS-IM by participants in terms of usefulness, ease of use, support for the initiation of informed interaction and disruption level management.

Keywords : Collaborative systems; distributed software development; interruption management; software engineering.

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